My family has bought about three generations of Toyota vehicles. By all account, we are a Toyota family. A lone Honda and a Lexus from other family members stand out like weeds that need to dealt with. Both of the non-Toyota cars were bought by black sheep family members. So, there you have it. However, with reports that Toyota has been lobbying members of Congress to roll back support for electric vehicles, increase in fuel efficiency, and greater hostility towards fuel efficiency, it is Toyota that has cancelled not only me but a large segment of the American public.
All this has been a huge surprise to me. This is Toyota. For the most of my life, the Japanese car brand has been synonymous with affordability, efficiency, and reliability. That has been before even the Prius came to dominate the fuel efficient hybrid market. It largely still is but you can see things have changed at Toyota. When you think hybrid, you likely think Prius. (Maybe the Insight?)
These days, the consumer clean vehicle rage is dominated by the likes of Telsa, old world car companies like GM, Ford, BMW, and even companies that have yet to release their own cars yet like Fisker. Toyota's Japanese competitors like Honda and Nissan are plowing ahead. Toyota is nowhere to be seen in the next five years.
Perhaps this is why Toyota's EV plan consists of obfuscating the efforts of others using Republican anti-science politicians who do not believe in climate change to blunt efforts by the Democratic efforts to remake the US economy including promotion of green energy and sales of EV.
To be fair, Toyota is not simply saying no to cleaner cars. It simply suggests that its solution of hybrids and even hydrogen fueled vehicles are the way to go. But that argument means little as Toyota has also dropped in fuel efficiency.
In the long run, tt could be right about hydrogen but its hybrid options are simply a band-aid solution at this point. Toyota has dragged its feet with regards to hydrogen by releasing only one car while doing almost nothing to establish a network of hydrogen stations. EV companies and their partners have spent years dotting the US with charging stations. Where I live and places I am most likely to go are surrounded by charging stations. For hydrogen, I would be forced to take a 20 minute drive to fuel up.
It is never too late for Toyota to get back into the game and perhaps even lead the industry again. It has the brand clout as well as the financial muscle to make that happen. However, current market leaders in the EV market are not simply going to roll over for the auto giant. Toyota will be fight to against battle tested companies like Telsa and even new entrants like Apple or Google in the next few years.
Meanwhile, Toyota decided to go low and decided that the only way it can stave off the competition and keep from falling further behind is to create political and public policy barriers. My next vehicle is going to be an electric car. I'll be making that purchase to replace my 15 year old car in the next year or two. That means not buying a Toyota or Lexus vehicle. It means others like myself who are tech enthusiasts and want climate friendly policies find ourselves being cancelled by Toyota's underhanded and closed door political dealings.