Uchiyamada spoke to reporters after an address at the Economic Club of Washington on Sept. 30. Howard Schneider writes that according to Uchiyamada, "the technical barriers to better battery life and performance are real...and are not on the verge of disappearing".
There will need to be “two breakthroughs to see the age of electric vehicles” — one to increase the distance that cars can drive on a charge and one to reduce that charging time, he told the group.
Notwithstanding those twin challenges, Toyota will continue to invest in battery technology by "working on a next-generation battery, aimed for completion in 2020, that could make hybrids even more efficient or extend the range of fully electric vehicles beyond their typical few dozen miles on a charge."
Toyota's commitment to hybrid-electric technology is unwavering. In five years, hybrids "could account for more than half of the company’s U.S. sales", Uchiyamada said.
Jeff Siegel of Energy & Capital, a self-proclaimed "long-time and loyal fan of electric cars", writes that Toyota's hybrid's dominate U.S. roads - capturing over 70% of the hybrid market. Toyota held the top three model lines for hybrids last year, according to Edmunds.com as written in Fox News Business on Sept. 28.
In California, the Prius was the top-selling vehicle last year, "topping perennial winners like the Toyota Camry and Ford F-150 pickup", writes Kelly Johnson in the Sacramento Business Journal in July. Nevertheless, Siegel appears to agree with Uchiyamada's opinion on the future for EVs.
The Toyota chairman also gave his opinion on three related topics: Tesla, fuel cell vehicles, and driverless cars.
For a more optimistic perspective on the future of EVs, read a Sept. 24 blog from Don Anair, the Union of Concerned Scientist's research and deputy director, clean cars: "Record News for the Climate: Electric Vehicles Posting Record Sales Across the Nation".