Tesla Investor Relations VP debunks Toyota’s anti EV arguments

Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Dülmen, Auto Bertels, Toyota GR Supra -- 2021 -- 9563” / CC BY-SA 4.0

A document from Toyota corporate to US dealers has attracted the attention of the electric vehicle community. While the Japanese carmaker’s skepticism surrounding electric cars has been known for a long time, the claims and estimates of Toyota in the document were enough to warrant a response from Tesla VP of Investor Relations Martin Viecha, who opted to correct some of the automaker’s figures on Twitter. 

Toyota’s document argued that there are three major barriers to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the United States. As per the carmaker, “more than 300 new lithium, cobalt, nickel, and graphite mines are needed to meet the expected battery demand by 2035.” The automaker argued that there’s no way that the pace of mineral mining and processing could keep up if a full shift to EVs were inmplemented within the next few years. 

Toyota also noted that only 12% of public chargers are fast chargers, and it takes 20-60 minutes to get to 80% charge. The automaker also stated that the average transaction price for a non-battery powered car is $48,000, while the average transaction price of a battery electric vehicle is $58,000, and that’s not counting the cost of the installation of a home charger, which adds an extra $1,200, as per Toyota. 

With these in mind, Toyota noted that it’s best to be practical and focus on hybrids instead. The battery of one all-electric car, the carmaker argued, would be enough to provide batteries to six plug-in hybrids vehicles, and a whopping 90 hybrid cars. Of course, both PHEVs and hybrids are essentially combustion-powered vehicles, and they tend to be complex due to their use of both combustion and electric technology. 

In his response, Tesla VP for Investor Relations Martin Viecha highlighted that less mining and extraction is actually needed in a renewable economy due to the absence of fossil fuel extraction. This is a key point that is heavily focused on in Master Plan Part 3, which outlines a path towards full sustainability. Viecha also noted that fast charging needs are limited for EV owners, as cars are typically charged fully every morning. Viecha corrected the veteran carmaker about the cost of EVs as well, as the Model 3 today costs just about $37,500 post EV credit in the US. 

Toyota’s stance on electric vehicles has resulted in the automaker being dubbed a “laggard” by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) in its Global Automaker Rating 2022 list, which ranks the world’s top 20 automakers according to their respective efforts to embrace electric vehicles. Toyota, together with its peers like Honda, Nissan, Mazda, and Suzuki, were ranked at the bottom of the ICCT’s rankings. 

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Tesla Investor Relations VP debunks Toyota’s anti EV arguments
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