A couple of days ago, a friend of mine called me the EV guru in his WhatsApp message to me. He believes that I am totally an EV convert, based on my writings, and that EV shall become the mainstream within the next 5 years. His understanding is actually not correct, I am not unconvinced that EV will become main stream in the next 5 years, but within the next 10 years it will surely have a strong industry representation. I am saying this not because I have doubts about the technical superiority of EVs, but because history has taught us that for product adoption, there is still the emotional part to overcome. So what are the possible irrational emotions holding back consumers back?
前些日子，我的一位好朋友给我冠了个新头衔，称我为（电动车支持者 EV guru），之所以在网上这么称呼我是因为他从我的写作中判断我已经是百分百的皈依电动车， 认为我对电动车在不久的将来将完全取代传统内燃车这样一个预测完全赞同。说实话，对于电动车在5年内普及化这么一个预测我还真是不置可否，不是说电动车技术上还没法取代内燃车，而是因为要成为市场主流产品重点还是得取得消费者的信任和接受。电动车要成为市场主流产品之前，会遇到什么阻力呢？
Let us first start by talking about Toyota. Keen observers of Toyota would quickly realize that it is slow in its EV adoption, and before last year has not announced any concrete EV plan, choosing instead to focus solely on hybrid technology. Only recently did Toyota announce the introduction of its first EV by 2020, and up to 10 models by 2025. Some people may infer from this that even a top car maker has doubts about the EV, it is surely a valid reason to hold back on EV for the time being.
In 2015, in announcing its “Environmental Challenge 2050” strategy, Toyota mapped out its route towards fuel cell technology, transitioning with hybrid technology which it said will last for 2 decades. However, by the end of 2017, Toyota has changed course, and has committed to speed up BEV development and aim to roll out their EV cars worldwide in their new 10-year EV strategy.
关注丰田的朋友应该还会记得，在2015年丰田曾发布过一个战略，名为“丰田环境挑战2050”，重点是丰田当时将发展方向定在了混合动力和燃料电池，纯电动车似乎被忽略不计。氢燃料电池 Hydrogen Fuel Cell 明确的时终极目标。然而两年后，也就是2017年底，丰田发布了面向2020年到2030年的挑战规划，宣布将在2020-2025年间按照中国、日本、印度、美国、欧洲的顺序在全球推出10款以上纯电动汽车。
Personally, I can understand the position that Toyota is taking, considering the huge investments it has already poured into the hybrid technology. Toyota is the undisputed number 1 for hybrid cars, and thus stand to lose the most in any erosion of the hybrid status. The other possible reason could be inferred from their previous encounter with EVs, where their RAV4-EV failed miserably, and that memory continues to linger within the boardrooms.
Now that Toyota has decided to join the EV train, it would have to find ways to quickly recoup all the investments into hybrid technology. I recently read about Toyota’s plan to make their hybrid technology non-proprietary, so that there is greater worldwide adoption of the hybrid and that could extend the life of the hybrid technology considerably. They also will become the contract manufacturer for Suzuki Maruti hybrids, while still continuing to argue for the hybrids in India.
For the truly environmentally conscious, the question of whether the EV is really environmentally friendly continues to linger. One not only has to consider the emission from driving, but also has to take into account the environmental impact from the production of batteries and electricity. A few weeks ago, the Japanese government announced potential new methods of calculating the EV subsidies by taking into account these factors. Notwithstanding, from the technical perspective, EVs do offer much less detriment to the environment than internal combustion cars.
首先，我们来看看主要社交媒体一些针对电动车的舆论。常出现的讨论议题有消费者对现在的纯电动汽车真的环保吗提出疑问。我个人总结出来的结果是肯定的。电动车主们充电时可以充分利用夜间的谷电，对电网效率有利 。电动车在堵车的时候没有怠速损耗 。通过 regenerative braking system 能够回收制动时的能量 。电动车的反对者就提问到了发电的污染，还有生产电池和废弃电池的污染。日本政府近期的密室讨论过程中也涉及到了EV优惠政策， 将来在拟定新能源车辆的优惠政策是将把发电污染考虑在内。
The main obstacle, in my opinion, to EV becoming mainstream is more an emotional and psychological one. Much of the negative emotions towards EVs in fact arise from an acute lack of understanding of the EV technology and its application. Sadly, most of what we learn about the EV technology comes from the EV startups and of course Tesla, while the traditional key players like Toyota, VW, Honda, Ford, General Motors have been silent mostly. If these big players have played their part in educating potential car buyers, the EV adoption could be much faster.
Much of my earlier arguments for EV is in the realm of technology, however, there is always the irrational consumer, and new production adoption always has to go through the process. I recognize the weaknesses of the EV technology, but in time to come, the EV prices will come down, battery technology will improve, charging infrastructure will be in place, running distances will greatly increase, and EV will undoubtedly become the mainstream.