Media Mix, Nov. 13, 2021

Subaru’s new EV, developed in collaboration with Toyota

Here’s this week’s Media Mix (whose headline is different from the print edition’s and slightly misleading), which is about Toyota’s seemingly blase attitude toward electric vehicles. Based on what the press in Japan is reporting, this reluctance is built into the corporate culture and isn’t necessarily a negative reaction to climate activism. After all, Toyota did design the e-Palette people mover, as described in the column; it’s just that they rushed the project and ended up debuting something that didn’t work as it was supposed to. However, last week I found a post on Twitter that indicated Toyota’s aversion to electric vehicles may be more fundamental than I thought. A blog called Electrek, which is about EVs, published a letter from a parent who was alarmed at a pamphlet their daughter received at her Japanese elementary school. The pamphlet was distributed by Toyota and attempted to explain to children how EVs are great but still years away, which isn’t really the truth. The main thrust of their message is that hybrids are already here and do just as good a job in terms of carbon neutrality, which isn’t true either. More importantly, more autoworkers will be able to keep their jobs, which has always been Toyota’s main scare tactic when talking about how the rush to electric is not a good idea. Though the parent says that all Japanese car makers in a sense have been slow to adopt all-electric vehicles, only Toyota is aggressive in its anti-electric propaganda, and the parent finds it highly problematic that they would target children with this message, obviously with the idea of cultivating future customers for its hybrids and gasoline powered cars. As pointed out in the column, this mentality clashes with the government’s pledge to do away with internal combustion engines for passenger cars by the middle of the century, but given that Toyota remains the jewel in the Japanese industrial crown, questions arise as to how serious that pledge is. I tend to think it’s sincere as far as it goes, but they obviously allow themselves room to move, so until the government carries out concrete actions toward the realization of that goal the pledge is subject to doubt. 

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1 Response to Media Mix, Nov. 13, 2021

  1. Oldbutnotobselete says:

    According to Scotty Kilmer EV Batteries don’t perform so well in extreme temperature. There must be an optimal temperature range. When to charge looks like an art form.

    Optimal EV Battery performance in Japan might be seasonal.
    Projected battery lifespan based on lab performance may disappoint.

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