Strike 1: Price of entry: $50,000.
Strike 2: Sold only in California.
Strike 3: Serviced only in California, and only at “select” dealerships with the right training and equipment.
Deep down, Toyota never saw a real market in electric vehicles. Look at the half-assed Plug-in Prius, for example. No, Toyota believes fuel cells are the future. Either that or Toyota is putting on a keen show of forward-think for PR purposes only. Meanwhile, Musk calls fuel cells “bullshit.” It’s no wonder that the Tesla/Toyota one-night stand in a RAV4 EV did not lead to a lifelong vow.
So who is right about the future of automobile powerplants? Perhaps both. The Prius was very right when it was born in 1997, but the Camry was hardly wrong when it was born in 1982. There’s plenty of room for variety in automobiledom. If FCVs eventually become mass-marketable, Tesla has already answered with a compelling combo of sex appeal, performance, direct-sale circuitry and increasing green cred as the sun becomes the go-to source for electricity. Also, we’re likely talking about decades here. Both TM and TSLA fans have plenty of time to order hotdogs and watch the rest of the game. Eight 2/3 innings to go, and neither team has to beat the other in order to win.