The heading to this article may well have some people scratching their heads and wondering exactly what we are talking about. However, when we tell you that Toyota is very concerned about German plans to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2020, perhaps things become yet more unclear?
This question relates to the use of coal fuelled power stations to create electricity that will fuel the electric vehicles of tomorrow. Toyota is one of the first electric vehicle manufacturers to discuss the potential to bar Toyota EV sales in Europe until the coal fuelled power station issue is resolved. Is this a bluff and yet another way for the company to improve its environmental standing?
Is Toyota serious?
The reality is that Toyota will not want to miss out on potentially millions of electric vehicle sales across Europe over the next decade. The company has invested far too much money to remove the European market from its list of potential buyers. However, there is also no doubt that the issue of coal fuelled power stations being used to power electric vehicles needs to be addressed.
Before we even begin to look at new electric car technology it is worth noting that the average coal fuelled power plant is around 29% efficient. This is significantly greater than the 8% to 12% efficiency of the gasoline engines of today. So in theory, we have a significant saving already even though the electric vehicle itself is not 100% efficient and will reduce this gain slightly.
It is perhaps worth noting at this time that the more environmentally friendly types of power are growing in stature and popularity across Europe. We may not quite be there with regards to recharging electric vehicles using solar power or wind power but there is no doubt that improvements have been made in these particular areas. In the eyes of many people it is just a matter of time before we have more efficient ways of recharging your electric vehicle.
Placing pressure upon governments
Whether this is Toyota effectively turning the tables and placing some pressure on European governments, and indeed to a lesser extent perhaps their U.S. counterparts, remains to be seen. It seems almost inconceivable that a company with the reputation and the stature of Toyota would even contemplate ignoring a major market like Europe.
If this blanking of the European market by Toyota grabs the headlines then it will have people discussing the problem of coal fuelled power stations. In many ways this is exactly what the industry itself needs, more education, more exposure, and making more people aware of the details.
It will be interesting to see whether Toyota follows through with its threat to leave the European market alone with regards to its environmentally friendly electric vehicles. The company believes that by using coal fuelled power stations this is effectively reducing a significant element of the benefits to using electric vehicles. While we can see Toyota's point of view, the fact is that money talks in the world of cars and it seems bizarre to say the least that the company is looking to ignore the major European market.
Time will tell us whether Toyota is serious or not?