KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH Local Houston and Texas News

KTRH-AM covering local news from Houston and across Texas.

 

Low Charge: Toyota Won't Go All-Electric

The world's largest automaker isn't joining the fledgling electric vehicle revolution. Toyota says it will commit to making a little more than a third of its vehicles all-electric by 2030. This stands in contrast with fellow carmakers GM, Volkswagen, and Buick, which made bold pledges to convert to only electric vehicle production within the next decade. Toyota leaders cite demand, infrastructure, and other challenges in the electric vehicle market as reasons for their more measured approach. One executive says "the marketplace isn't mature enough and ready enough," while another states EVs are only "one solution, not the solution" to becoming carbon neutral.

For skeptics of the EV movement, Toyota's position is a breath of fresh air and an acknowledgement of reality. "I think Toyota is 100 percent right, they're being candid with their buying public when I don't think most of the carmakers are," says Jerry Korth, an energy entrepreneur who wrote a piece earlier this year called The Inconvenient Truth About Electric Vehicles. "These big announcements (from automakers) about their commitment to electric vehicles have been political speak...I think they know very well there's no way that producing 100 percent EVs by even 2035 is possible."

As Korth has pointed out, the necessary electrical infrastructure i.e. charging stations and power plants, does not exist to support a mass expansion of electric vehicles, even if public demand was there (which it is not.) This phenomenon was demonstrated recently in California, which pledged to ban gas-powered vehicles by 2035, then told residents to avoid charging EVs due to power shortages. "When the price of electricity doubles, as it will over the next few years as demand increases beyond the capacity of the grid, then the demand for electric vehicles is also going to go away," he tells KTRH.

The other major issue facing EV expansion is lack of materials and infrastructure needed to produce the car batteries. Experts already cite shortages and bottlenecks in the supply of lithium, nickel, and other metals which have to be mined from the Earth and then refined. "We don't have a single decent sized mine for any of these things," says Korth. "And so the idea that this is just going to happen overnight is a pipe dream."

"The United States of America is about 20 large fossil fuel power plants short of having the capacity to meet the demands of additional electric vehicle usage alone," he continues. "And the idea that the Biden administration is not doing anything about that, is unconscionable to me."

Photo: Getty Images Europe


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