Lexus Boss Thinks EV Tech Not Ready Yet For Mass Adoption

Electric cars are not yet ready for the mass market, nor is the environmental impact fully understood according to Lexus boss Yoshihiro Sawa.

Speaking to Autocar, Sawa said that Lexus is working on all types of powertrain, including battery electric and fuel cell technologies, but the Japanese company would not enter the market until customer and environmental benefits are clear.

“Our philosophy is to provide freedom of movement, so we have to develop technology on all fronts,” said Sawa. “We understand that electric is very necessary – more than some, perhaps, with our early move to hybrid, but we can also see that full EV will not suit everyone. You can’t make an electric Land Cruiser work, for instance – and there are people in remote parts of the world whose lives depend on that car.

“Pure EVs currently require a long charging time and batteries that have an environmental impact at manufacture and which degrade as they get older. And then, when cells need replacing, we have to consider plans for future use and recycling. It is a complex issue – much more complex than the current rhetoric perhaps suggests. I prefer to approach the future in a more honest way.

“If we are looking for the best solution it is my opinion that the best solution is not only EV; we must consider petrol, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell. If we focus on EV only we will not provide the answers people need.”

Another report suggest that Lexus is considering electrified powertrains for its F performance sub-brand, going as far as offering a standalone F hybrid GT model. Combining an electric motor with a strong engine will give future Lexus F models the performance required, as well as allow Lexus for some time to make up its mind on full electric vehicles.

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  • atomicbri

    I totally agree with what Sawa said. All electric will not work everywhere. And not everyone has the time to wait hours for a vehicle to recharge. At this time I feel hybrids are still a great bet for the masses, until at least charging times can be cut. And then all those batteries, they would need to be recycled because some of their components are metals that are not in abundance on our planet.

  • SteersUright

    Well said but such a generic blanket statement. You think BMW, Audi, MB and all others dont know they need to invest in various technology too? Lexus/Toyota always speak so confidently but outside of hybrid tech (Prius), I cant think of any other innovations and strides they’ve made nor stunningly desirable high-tech vehicles. Look at the interior of a Lexus (nice quality no doubt), then look at the latest Audi’s. Their flawed design, geriatric dynamics, underperforming powertrains, lack of exciting models, and on and on… They aren’t really in a position to speak confidently about the future given their current lineup.

    • atomicbri

      Yes I get what you are saying totally about their individual products. But I do agree with him on the overall assessment of electric vehicles on the whole. Still too much in their infancy and we still have really long recharge times. When you have a Land Cruiser and are in the savannas of Africa, there will hardly be a recharge station somewhere and with gas you can carry it with you on your outing. I love the idea of no gas but the reality is that it’s still more or less very limited to its audience and not many places to charge in many areas.

      • SteersUright

        Exactly why I am shocked that we aren’t more invested in hybrids. The latest batteries can be charged more quickly, offer greater range, and paired up with an onboard gas powered generator, you can essentially go anywhere and with great fuel economy. Why does it have to be gas, diesel or pure electric? What happened to hybrids?

  • Сафиуллина-Мохамед Рамазанов

    He summarize a lot of things
    Totally agree with him

  • MarketAndChurch

    It’s early adopter technology at this point. The focus should be entirely on hybrids and gasoline hybrid plug-ins.

  • Fatalpotato

    It seems like Toyota will continue to have sales going downward in the next decade as well, because other companies are not investing in electric cars as they’re right now, but how will they be in ten years. Fuel cell is toast apparently, as liquidating and storing hydrogen in commercial vehicles is not a good idea it seems :). That leaves only hybrids as an alternative for evs, and I genuinely don’t think the front up cost of hybrids make them more worthwhile than ice in the long run. So that leaves ice and evs for the next decade, and I don’t think ice will go out with a bang, but their use in city will decline slowly as recharge times improve. If Toyota won’t adapt to the change, they might consider merging with someone that can, in the future.

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