You don’t need to be a Silicon Valley area resident to be familiar with Tesla Motors…the Wall Street darling that won Motor Trend’s prestigious 2013 Car of the Year award…been sending rockets into space and getting featured on CBS’s 60 Minutes news show. In addition to taking over the old Fremont, CA NUMI plant, once occupied by Toyota…Tesla and Toyota recently had an EV battery deal to supply the RAV4 EV.
However Toyota decided to end its R&D deal with Tesla…veering sharply from a 20-year attempt to create a viable battery-electric vehicle…and pursue the hydrogen fuel cell path. Why? “Because hydrogen fuel cells are cheaper on a cost-per-vehicle basis and are “more efficient on a well-to-wheel basis. Lastly, because Toyota sees battery-electric vehicles as viable for only “short-range vehicles that take you that extra mile”…for example, “from the office to the train, or home to the train, as well as usage within large [corporate] campus environments.
However, “for long-range travel primary vehicles, we feel there are better alternatives, such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and tomorrow with fuel cells,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota’s North American region in an interview after Fortune magazine’s Brainstorm Green conference.