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“During the coming 10-15 years of battery material shortages, we believe that precious battery cells should not be squandered in only long-range BEVs, especially ones that have driven a short distance between recharges.

“Rather, we believe the battery cell should be put where they will do the most good.”

Pratt clarified that he and other Toyota bosses do not believe that hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars should forever be used in place of BEVs, saying that in “15 years or so” global lithium mining operations will be sufficiently developed to allow for larger-scale EV production – and battery recycling schemes will provide a significant material resource. 

He also said that, in some parts of the world, it already makes sense to drive a pure-EV – like in Norway, for example, where electricity generated via renewable resources is readily available for charging. But, crucially, every market varies according to its customers’ demands and preparedness for battery-EVs, so Toyota will continue with a “multi-tech approach”. 

“We can’t expect that a single powertrain is going to offer the optimal solution everywhere,” Pratt said. “Our goal is to reduce carbon emissions as much as possible, as soon as possible, and that’s why we say: carbon is the enemy, not a particular powertrain.”

He also extolled the benefits of hydrogen powertrains – both of the fuel cell and combustion variety – as viable alternatives to batteries, particularly in the heavy goods vehicle sector – “where hydrogen’s lower mass and faster refuelling is essential”. 

He theorised that an average battery-electric HGV would use around 10 times more power when charging, compared with a conventional passenger car, and take around an hour to fill up, compared with six minutes for a diesel HGV.

To which end, he estimated, every HGV diesel pump would need to be replaced by 10 chargers, each of which with 10 times the output of a standard EV charger, to facilitate the switch to battery-electric lorries and minimise downtime. “And remember that a truck stop may have several diesel pumps,” he said.

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