From The Mobilist Inbox This Week
Not so fast for EVs, LFP’s comeback, tinkering with lithium sulfur
Each Wednesday, The Mobilist highlights reader articles on Medium, comments, and updates.
About that fait accompli: Across the world of electric vehicles and batteries, the accepted wisdom is that Americans — and motorists everywhere — are on the cusp of a big switch. En mass, they are about to discard their long-cherished combustion vehicles and adopt EVs. Last week, though, I profiled Toyota chief scientist Gill Pratt, who said, Not So Fast. Pratt said the Japanese carmaker expects motorists to continue to demand all sorts of vehicles, and that Toyota’s plans are to serve these many markets. Some Mobilist letter-writers agreed with him, but most did not.
On the former side, here is Nadav Gur:
“The story is one of practicality. My plug-in hybrid gets me 700 miles per tank AND can take me from California to Utah or Mexico without necessitating long stops for charging. As long as I stay in town I can literally kiss gas goodbye. But if I want to go into Death Valley, I can still go there. As long as charging is slow and sparse, a plug-in hybrid is more useful for many.”
And this opposing view from Jonathan H:
“Some business decisions and viewpoints are biased due to the emotional resistance that some leaders feel at the scope of the work they are facing, especially when a wholesale disruptive change is before them. Toyota has one of the best transmissions and hybrid drivetrains in the market, but anyone who has looked at cars in the last several generations knows that the drivetrains in Toyotas have not received a generational update in many years. More than several of their SUVs still get poor gas performance. The Lexus brand also has aged significantly in just a few years. If you sit in a new model in 2021, it’s still a pre-2015 car.
“They couldn’t execute an iterative update on an established platform, now [that] EVs are an existential threat. Naturally they are promoting an aged hybrid drivetrain that’s battle-tested, but ultimately isn’t what will be driving customers to clamor for their products. Toyota will not fall into irrelevance, but this type of commentary is indicative of an evasiveness of…