Toyota has no love for pure-electric cars, hence it falling out with Tesla Motors and the subsequent war of words between the two. Once again, Toyota is declaring that electricity isn’t the fuel of the future, reiterating its belief that hydrogen is the way to go.
This time around, the chief engineer for the Mirai fuel cell car, Yoshikazu Tanaka, made some controversial assertions about why battery-electric cars won’t work in large quantities. Reuters Canada reports that Tanaka said that too many cars charging up will overload the power grid, which in turn will cause problems for households and businesses.
What about rapid battery charging technology? Tanaka said it wouldn’t help, because even if you could charge up an electric car in a mere twelve minutes, it would probably be “using up electricity required to power 1,000 houses.”
Tanaka and his employer aren’t anti electric cars, but instead see hydrogen as a more practical fuel source. The only way they’d word is if virtually all electric vehicles were charged at night and weren’t driven very far each day. In reality, some people must drive long distances every day, and not everyone has the ability to charge their car nightly.
Interestingly enough, no mention was made by Tanaka about what role solar panels would play in helping keep up with daytime energy demands.
As Toyota is pushing hydrogen vehicles such as the Mirai, it’s meeting considerable resistance from electric car fans. The company has been accused of “knowing” that electric cars are better, but being part of a worldwide conspiracy, among other outlandish things.
Toyota is an incredibly powerful force in the automotive industry, having singlehandedly jumpstarted the hybrid powertrain revolution. Now that it’s putting its full weight behind hydrogen fuel cell technology, the question is when not if such vehicles will become common on U.S. roads. Just how mainstream they’ll eventually be is still up in the air.
An important milestone was achieved by Toyota recently as the Mirai was the first fuel cell car to pace a NASCAR race.