No Future In Sight For Electric Cars, Says Toyota, German Auto Economics Professor

Another green pipe dream, electric cars, bites the dust.

A Reva i/G-Wiz charging in London. Photo source: Wikipedia – file from the Wikimedia Commons,, frankh (Flickr User)

CO2 Handel reports that Toyota, one of the leading hybrid car manufacturers, sees no future for the purely electric car.

There is still no business model that can succeed on the market,” said the spokesman of Toyota Deutschland on Tuesday. Instead, Toyota will focus more on hybrid models over the coming years.

Toyota wants to continue development and sell electric cars for field tests, but only to a few selected customers in the USA and Japan. No sales are planned for Europe at this time.”

The main problem with the electric cars is their lack of efficiency with the batteries, and there are no technical breakthroughs in sight.

Meanwhile, the Rheinpfalz daily here reports on the dismal sales of electric cars in Germany. Pure electric cars, charged by renewable energy, were once hoped to be the answer to the dirtier combustion engine and would herald in a new era of clean transportation. That is now looking more and more like a pipe dream.

The Rheinpfalz daily writes:

For years they dominated international car shows and were to seen everywhere in the media: electric cars. However up to now, they have been completely missing on one decisive place: the streets. In the first part of 2012, only 4541 electric cars were registered, and that in a total market of about 51.7 million vehicles.”

Once again, as is the case with some forms renewable energy, noboby in the free market is willing to give electric cars the time of day. Not even the fans in the media and government are buying them. For the money, they simply do not provide mobility solutions that people have come to expect.

The Rheinpfalz daily writes:

Because of skimpy demand, the French PSA concern is stopping both of its electric models: the Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn. For the same reason, production lines will be stopped for the Ampera sister model the Chevrolet Volt at the end of the month.”

That means the German government can forget about reaching its lofty target of having 1 million electric cars on German streets by 202o.

“Nobody believes it’s going to happen,” says Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, a professor for automotive economics at the University of Duisburg-Essen, according to the Rheinpfalz.

The problem with electric cars is all the impracticality involved with charging them, their low range, and massive battery weight. The batteries themselves pose huge environmental challenges that every proponent refuses to take into account.

Worse, studies show that electric cars mean a limitation in mobility, and not an expansion. The infrastructure for charging electric cars is also plagued with problems. The Rheinpfalz asks:

Does the connection fit with my car? Can my charging cable handle the electric current load that is supplied by the charging station? For example, does the charging station supply 32 A while my cable can only handle 16A?

Other electric cars have also been shown to be unsafe, some catching fire.

Even the German government, probably the biggest proponent of electric cars on the planet (at least judging from all the promotional literature it cranks out) is snapping them up. According to the Rheinpflaz: “In 2012 the car fleet of the Federal Ministry for Transportation has only 2 electric cars and one fuel cell car. It has lots of electric bikes.”

Just more truth and reality about the great green pipe dream.


20 responses to “No Future In Sight For Electric Cars, Says Toyota, German Auto Economics Professor”

  1. Bernd Felsche

    They’re very slow to learn, aren’t they. And their lessons are very expensive.

    I wrote about the fundamental problems with electric 3 years ago.

    Meanwhile, Australians will be delighted to learn that their incarnation of the Chevy Volt will be an orphaned zombie. At a price roughly double that of a real car. And fuel consumption on long trip nothing to write home about.

    The cost of charging the battery is, unsurprisingly, under-quoted by the manufacturer. At 16.5kWh capacity, the batteries will probably take in excess of 18kWh to fully charge from “empty”. Which’d cost the average householder about $4.50 around Perth in Western Australia, unlike the PR blurb.

    Of course their excuse may be that the 16.5kWh is the total cell capacity and that the management system (probably) won’t let the state of charge drop below 20%; i.e. the last 3kWh of stored energy are practically never available. Oh; forget about charging the battery when the weather is warm… the BMS won’t charge LiIon above 35°C – unless the car’s been programmed to self-destruct. Probably won’t above 30°C ambient due to self-heating while the battery is charging. Unless their run the airconditioning to cool the batteries while the car is parked to charge.

    And while I’m talking about parking in warmer weather, the electrics won’t go very far after starting the car as the interior of the car will be hot and will take several kWh before the interior is remotely comfortable. Temperatures in a parked car can exceed 65°C in Australia. There’s a great deal of latent heat stored in interior trim that has to be removed by the airconditioning system.

    That said, if one is “lucky” and parks the car on hot concrete to do some shopping for an hour, one may be lucky to find that the LiIon pack has become too hot to deliver current. Usual cutoff temperature is around 40°C for that cell chemistry. Drawing significant current above that temperature can make the cell unstable, leading to thermal runaway. Run away! Upwind.

    The “hybrid” car can then only be a gasoline-electric one. Like Porsche built around 1901.

    Isn’t “progress” marvellous?

    Why, even the frontal airbag isn’t all that new, protecting both pedestrian and the driver in the event of a collision.

  2. JP

    Not much truth or reality in this piece.

    “For example, does the charging station supply 32 A while my cable can only handle 16A?”

    The car will only draw what it’s capable of. There are standard connectors and adapters that allow charging from many different sources.

    The batteries do not pose “huge environmental challenges”, they are non hazardous and recyclable.

    No EV has spontaneously caught fire. (The Fisker is a hybrid, not an EV if that’s what you were referring to, as is the Volt). Nor has any EV caught fire in a crash, other than one Chinese car.

    Tesla is building and delivering cars with more than enough range, as well as creating a fast charge network to support them.

    Sure there are challenges to be overcome for EV’s but it’s no where near as bleak as you wish to pretend.

  3. DirkH

    Folding Electric (3 wheeled) Car from 1920s

    1. Bernd Felsche


      Hybrid that works as wll as the “Volt”. 🙂

  4. DirkH

    And let it not be forgotten that the inside of the pictured car is not the best place to be during an accident.
    The SUV sustained a scratch.

  5. Pascvaks

    An idea who’s day will come. One day.

    One day we will be able to store the power of 14, 783 of today’s fully charged 12v car batteries in the space of a single standard 1.5v D Cell and recharge it in 1.21 seconds or less, but not today. We’ve got everything we need but that ittsie-bittsie tiny-winy yellow poka-dot battery. Oh well… tomorrow’s another day.

    PS: Invent Super Battery and Recharge System, tomorrow.

  6. Bernd Felsche


    “Am Montag trifft sich Kanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) zu einem Autogipfel mit Top-Managern zum Thema Elektromobilität. Die Industrie warnt, dass ohne weitere Förderung bis 2020 höchstens 600.000 Elektromobile abzusetzen seien. „Wir werden einen langen Atem brauchen, auch über das Jahr 2020 hinaus“, heißt es dem Bericht zufolge in einem Papier aus dem Haus von Forschungsministerin Annette Schavan (CDU) zu dem Treffen.”

    That’s it…. a cottage industry at best with at most 600,000 possibly sold by 2020; without continuing subsidies.

  7. John F. Hultquist

    In the USA, Government Motors appears to be losing $30,000 for each of its electric Volts sold. When they give me one and 5 years of free electricity I will be happy to try one out for them. Likely it will be used only in June, July, and August when it is warm. I live about 20 km (12 miles) from the nearest grocery store.

  8. David

    Given that pure electric cars are falling out of favour, it is inevitable that the UK government will embrace them even more enthusiasticly with continuation of the generous subsidies and discounts that are funded by the rest of us.

    Imho, series hybrid is the future for at least the next few decades.

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  10. Brian from Australia

    Latent heat stored in the interior trim is incorrect. It’s not latent heat unless the trim changes state – ie melts or vaporises. Sadly, another imposter writing about science.

  11. Brian H

    None of the criticisms of EVs applies to the TeslaMotors Model S. It is the only company with all its skin in the game; the others are just going through the motions.

    TM just announced the inauguration of a transcontinental network of hi-speed chargers, 3X+ faster than the “official” SAE standard, which will supply FREE power to its car-owners (through an arrangement with Solar City, an allied company, which will set up arrays at suitable stations that will produce more input to the grid than the network could draw running flat out 24/7/365) and earn a profit by doing so.)

    The cars get 200-300 miles on a charge, depending on speed. More in slow city traffic.

  12. Brian H

    It will be extending the network world-wide, starting next year for the first sites.

  13. Brian H

    Its Model S, and upcoming Model X, have about 3X the capacity of the toy car in the image above.

    1. DirkH

      Starting at about 77 k USD; for a 46 kWh battery, add 10,000 for 20 kWh more, add another 10,000 for another 20 kWh… and end up with a car above 2 tonnes.

      Sorry, not my price range. I pay a twentieth of that for a car.

      So let’s see. How much kW does the thing burn when running at an economic 100 km/h. Let’s say it makes 300 m or 480 km on a full 85 kWh battery. That would be 17.7 kWh/100km or, at that speed a sustained power of 17.7 kW. Pretty good.

      So I would pay 4.16 EUR per 100 km for the electricity given German domestic tariffs. Hmm. Currently I burn through… 5.5 EUR of LPG in my 750 kg car.

      Nah. No deal. I would have to drive it for 5.7 million kilometers before I recoup the price difference between the two cars.

      (We have no free electricity in Germany.)

      1. Brian H

        You will have, when the SuperCharger network is set up.
        BTW, what is the 0-100km/h in your wee putt-putt?

        Apples and oranges.

        In about 4 yrs (2016) you will be able to get a smaller lighter Tesla (currently dubbed GenIII) for about half the price, with the next gen of battery.

        1. Brian H

          Realistically, TM is currently selling to Audi, BMW, MB owners, etc. Compare costs for those cars.

          1. DirkH

            Oh great; a taxpayer subsidized enterprise that sells cars to the 1%. How’s Obamanomics working out for you?

            BTW: As I drive at constant speed, acceleration times for my “wee putt-putt” don’t bother me that much. What’s more important, it’s a Volkswagen. They are designed to drive you home all the way from Stalingrad to Wolfsburg in the case of the worst mechanical failure, and they do.

  14. pyeatte

    The problem with electric cars, based on batteries, has been apparent from the beginning. It is obvious no one in a position of responsibility bothered to ask an engineer to give an honest appraisal of the problems. Some engineers went along because “it was an interesting job”, and there were fools willing to spend $billions on a pipe-dream, especially if politicians were willing to foot part of the bill with public money.
    Someday electric vehicles, including trucks, will be the norm, but it will require a breakthrough in applied physics, and there is no way to predict when that may happen (50 years? a hundred?). Until then, what we have works just fine.

  15. Mervyn

    Until politicians and their economic policy advisors understand a very basic principle, that “if it needs subsidising, it’s not viable”, they will continue to gamble away taxpayers’ funds on hairy-fairy ideas.

    But then, why should they care? They are in a privileged position in which they can squander tax payers’ funds as they please. Is it any wonder so many western countries are in an economic mess?

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