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Toyota to debut 2 BEVs, 1 PHEV for US this year; says research shows BEVs & PHEVs have similar environmental benefits

Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) plans to debut three new electrified models—two BEVs and a PHEV—in the US market this year. Toyota currently has more than 40% share of the total alternative fuel vehicle market, which includes a 75% share of the fuel cell market and a 64% share of hybrids and plug-ins.

By 2025, Toyota’s goal is to have 40% of new vehicle sales be electrified models, and by 2030 expects that to increase to nearly 70%.

Between now and 2025, Toyota and Lexus models, globally, will have an electrified option. Toyota is also developing a dedicated BEV platform, e-TNGA, that offers flexibility for all drive configurations. These initiatives are further steps toward achieving the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050, introduced in 2015.

We believe the fastest way to lower greenhouse gases in the transportation sector is to offer drivers lower carbon choices that meet their needs. At every price point and with multiple powertrains, we can put more people in cleaner automobiles across North America to have the greatest near-term impact on total carbon emissions.

—Gill Pratt, chief scientist of Toyota Motor Corporation and CEO of Toyota Research Institute

Toyota shared highlights of new internal research evaluating the environmental impact and cost of ownership between a PHEV and a BEV. For this research, Toyota created a tool that shows the trade-off between GHG Emissions and Total Cost of Ownership. The source code for this tool is publicly available at for others to experiment with the various input parameters and see the movement of BEVs and PHEVs on the GHG and cost plot.

The research found:

  • GHG of a currently available BEV model and PHEV model are roughly the same in on-road performance when factoring in pollutants created by electricity production for the average US energy grid used to charge batteries.

  • Manufacturing is a component of GHG emissions. Using the “Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Technologies” (GREET) model, researchers found that the production of a PHEV emits less GHG since it uses a smaller, lighter weight battery.

  • The PHEV is much less expensive to buy and own, compared to the BEV. Without any incentives, the five-year Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a long-range BEV is significantly higher than the PHEV. If you include incentives available this year (2020), the TCO of a long-range BEV is much higher.

The key point, according to Toyota, is that a BEV and PHEV can provide similar environmental benefits. Each has a unique profile and can be an optimal solution in different circumstances. By having a diversified product portfolio with multiple forms of vehicle electrification, Toyota can let consumers choose the model that best suits their usage needs and cost profile while maximizing the total contribution to GHG reduction.

Toyota’s progress on Challenge 2050 in North America is measured across four key areas: reducing carbon emissions, conserving water, fostering a sustainable supply chain including waste reduction, and protecting biodiversity.

Sustainability planning, strategies and actions are driven by an annual North American Environmental Action Plan, with a five-year roadmap modeled to achieve targets in Challenge 2050 and also the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Toyota is currently targeting:

  • Reduction in CO2 from the company’s operations, products and vehicle lifecycle—including logistics, suppliers and dealers;

  • Reduction in overall water use per unit of vehicle production by 3% from a 2020 baseline;

  • Reduction of procurement of plastic packaging materials by 25% from a 2018 baseline;

  • Development of third party validated onsite habitat management policy by 2021 and begin implementation in 2022.



KIA Niro PHEV is my current car. Hyundai Tucson PHEV is probably my next car.

I'm a PHEV fanboy. It allows me to utilize gas or electricity with ever is cheaper and/or more convenient.

The key point, according to Toyota, is that a BEV and PHEV can provide similar environmental benefits.
No surprise there.

"The key point, according to Toyota, is that a BEV and PHEV can provide similar environmental benefits."

The key word is "can". It would depend on the range of the PHEV and how far you drive on a daily basis and whether you can keep the PHEV charged so that you almost never use gasoline but you still have to use the gasoline engine periodically as the gasoline goes bad over time. Also, as the cost of batteries comes down, the cost advantage of the PHEV vs the BEV will reverse with the BEV costing less as the BEV is considerably less complicated and requires almost no maintenance. Toyota is just making an argument to keep producing the same old vehicles as long as possible.


After driving an BEV for 10 years with no costs other than state fees, utility company electrons for fuel, and replacing three sub-quality lead acid battery for maintenance, I'm sold on BEVs and wonder why one would pay the extra costs associated with driving a complicated PHEV. Unless you like visiting the great guys for maintenance at the dealership and hunting for the best price and pumping gas at the local gas stations.
Or perhaps it's because one is a victim of habit and feels more secure shelling out ducats for inspections and receiving ongoing announcements of operational well being.

Roger Pham

@Lad: >>>>>>"...wonder why one would pay the extra costs associated with driving a complicated PHEV. "
Reply: A PHEV can cost much less than a long-range BEV and can be simpler. That's the point of this article. Let's imagine a PHEV having a 15-kWh battery pack that can deliver 150 kW of power, and 2 electric motors with one on each axle, 60 kW (80 hp) each for a total of 120 kW (160 hp). With this much e-power, it will only need a 3-cylinder 1-liter engine of about 75 hp output in the front axle, which is very simple. No need for transmission, nor any starter nor any generator. The 60-kW e-motor in the front axle can be clutched to the engine via a simple synchro-clutch to act as a starter as well as a generator.

In the all-electric mode, it will have 160 hp of power.
In the hybrid mode, the engine can be clutched directly to the front axle to provide cruising power, while accelerating and decelerating power is provided by the e-motors. Combined power in the hybrid mode would be 160 hp + 75 hp = 235 hp. For more power in the hybrid mode, we could put a turbocharger on the 1-liter engine to raise its power to 140 hp. So, combining 140 hp of the engine to the 160 hp of the e-motors = 300 hp total. This is enough power to compete with comparable BEV's in the market, power-wise.

In the engine-only mode, the two e-motors can also act as an e-CVT transmission, with the engine powering the front motor-generator to generate power to drive the rear e-motor, with maximum power of around 70 hp of the engine. The engine-only mode is rarely used, except in the case of complete depletion or complete malfunctioning of the battery pack.

For a long trip, the battery will be charged full and kept at full charge in order to assist the engine when climbing mountains will be needed. When climbing mountains, the battery will assist the engine to climb, and during the descent, the down-hill energy will be returned back to the battery pack.

The 1-liter engine weighs around 200 lbs with all associated hardware, yet can replace 1,000 lbs. of battery weight. The 1-liter 3-cylinder engine will costs around $1,500 to $2,000 yet can displace $15,000 to $20,000 of battery cost.


Another thing in favor of the PHEV is that it can simplify the powertrain quite a bit.  Recall this item:

A pure BEV is always going to have the issue of charging time for any trip longer than you can run on a single charge.  The PHEV doesn't and never will; it's the best of both worlds.


Facts that speak against PHEVs are the following:
a) Lugging around all that extra needless mass of the ICE while in E-mode increases energy consumption.
b) The ICE reduces otherwise available space and complicates distribution of available space.
c) Increases the overall size of the vehicle.
d) When in ICE mode, operational pollution continues.
e) Preventive and corrective maintenance of the ICE is rather expensive.
f) Overall pollution of the complete fossil cycle continues.
g) Hampers the development of better battery cells and improvement of our environment etc. etc..


The PHEV hauls around less extra mass than the weight of the seldom-used portion of the BEV's battery.  A Tesla is a rather heavy car.

A seldom-used ICE needs little maintenance.  I've got maybe a couple dozen hours of operation of the ICE in my PHEV in the last 2 years.  I should probably change the oil soon, but it'll be fine even if I don't.


Clinging desperately to yesterday and yesteryear is not going to prepare us for a bearable future.



Roger Pham

The future is PHEV, not long-range BEV (LR-BEV).
1..This is because LR-BEV packs so much battery capacity per vehicle, in reality ensuring that the rest of the vehicles in the market will not have enough battery and will continue to run on gasoline.
2.. Especially when it is still not cost-effective to recycle the Lithium in Li-ion batteries.
3.. Cold weather requires a lot of heat for defrosting and in reality, dropping the range of LR-BEV to half. It is not even possible to charge a Li-ion battery pack when its temperature drops below freezing.
4.. A LR-BEV rated at 300-mi EPA like Tesla in reality can only deliver around 200-mi when driven at 75-80 mph to keep up with traffic. UNACCEPTABLE, when one is pressing for time.
5.. Hot tropical climates year round will significantly reduce the calendar-life span of the Li-ion batteries, thus a big battery pack would be a big waste. A small battery pack in a PHEV that can be replaced at an affordable cost is much more sensible and practical. Heavy use of A/C in hot climates will drop the range of BEV.
6.. Even taking only 1/2 hour to "fast" charge a LR-BEV every 200 miles would still be far too long for most people in a hurry to get to destination in a long trip, and even worse when one must detour to find an available "fast" charging station that is not conveniently on the route. PHEV's would have no such problem.

There are SO MANY things WRONG with LR-BEV the more we are digging into it.


I've been driving different BEVs for several years; the worst of those was the Leaf. Presently )'m driving a BEV with a range of ca. 300 miles in the summer. That leaves me about 200 miles in the winter and suits me just fine. I've never fast-charged any of my BEVs because presently no battery on the market is compatible to fast-charging without detrimental depreciation. I've never experienced range problems, not even with the lousy Leaf.
Considering my age, I'm what you would probably call an "old geezer" and I do have a mind of my own. Personally, I need a PHEV as direly as I need a hole in my head.

Roger Pham

@yoatmon: >>>>>"Personally, I need a PHEV as direly as I need a hole in my head."
Reply: Wait until you're in a middle of a major snow storm with power outage and temperatures in the single-digit or below 0 dgr F and your 200-mi winter-range BEV will now deliver around 150 mi before needing a charge, and you can't since you have a power outage due to brown-out condition due to massive grid overload. This means that public fast-charging would be out of the question You'll be in for a lot of hurt! Cold, dark, and stuck!!! It is happening now for a lot of people. A big swath of the USA is now experiencing just that, with temperatures below 0 for Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Oklahoma, and in the single digit as far South as Texas and Mississippi, for10 days in a row!

With a PHEV like the RAV4 Prime with a plug-out from the car, you can use the PHEV as the backup generator to power your house to get the central heater blower running to keep warm, have all the lights on and TV, computers, ovens and appliances ...With a range of over 500 miles, the PHEV will have enough of gas for several days of power backup for your home, with gas refill in 3 minutes.

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