Good Toyota - Bad Toyota
The really cool, funny, goofy, tongue in cheek, and should have been legally OK according to fair use under parody of the Toyota logo, the one that was here with the cute little devil horns coming out of its head, has been forced off this page by Toyota PR and their legal team who didn't seem to have any sense of humor about it. They called us, then sent us a form letter! So I removed it to keep them happy. Now I'm sure Doug Korthof will call me a sell out again! I'd in fact ironically borrowed the illustration from some other website, and it appears that cute little devil horn Toyota logo is widely used as a popular emblem by British Toyota Club owners, sold freely at truck stops and automotive parts stores in the UK everywhere! Is the Toyota legal team going to go after every single one of these Toyota owners who have the emblem stuck on the hood of their car? It would appear so, as I've been told that they have over 200.000 domain name holders they plan on pursuing for unauthorized use of their trademark. Take a cue from Google, let it be... otherwise all you will succeed in doing is alienate a lot of long time loyal Toyota fans and supporters.
What's going on with all that Crushing sound?
RemyC scratches his head!
This good Toyota, bad Toyota stuff is getting a little weird, more so for ET, since our major sponsor is Toyota. Somebody needs to take a serious look at Toyota so we can discuss this sudden two-faced marketing agenda.
With GM it was clear cut... there were 1000 EV1s out there turned into pulp. But why is Toyota suddenly rubbing the wrong way the same customer base that makes the Prius such a commercial success? What's Toyota's motive? How many RAV4 EVs are we talking about? Where's the story here?
Comments from Paul Scott:
The fleet leases have to be turned in.
Some of the fleet leases are being given two year extensions, but then
they have to be turned in. Toyota is claiming that they are taking the
very best of these returns and providing them to parks and universities
for temporary use, but even those eventually will have to go back for
crushing. ALL of the fleet leased RAVs are being destroyed well before
their useful life is over.
I think the
future in safe propulsion batteries are going to be Li-Ion
In response to the idea that Lithium-Ion is increasingly held up as a future solution for PHEVs and BEVs, a solution that renders the NiMH questions moot.
When I interviewed Valence for
EVWorld.com in November 2003, the specific motive I had was not that their
chemistry is Lithium-Ion based, but that their batteries have a reputation
for having solved the significant Lithium-Ion safety issue (the concern
about runaway fire).
Stay tuned for more mayhem...
UPDATE :: JULY 31 '05
by Josh Landess
The wrap-up-for-now story on the Campaign to stop Toyota from crushing their RAV4 BEVs is that around mid-July 2005, the protest-leaders sat down with Toyota managers and, through negotiation, succeeded in getting Toyota to agree to stop their present policies. Here is a link to a copy of the announcement:
Big news from DontCrush.com
"Toyota has agreed to stop crushing salable, useable RAV4 EVs!!!! With several hundred cars left out there, this is dontcrush.com's biggest win yet, and we applaud Toyota's choice to be responsive to their customers!!!"
[further details of the agreement are available at the link above]
My own thoughts on this are that I want to give credit where it is due, and
discredit where it is due. There is this tendency amongst some BEV and PHEV advocates to try to swing back-and-forth between either saying that a car company is heroic and can-do-no-wrong and trying to say that they are generally deserving of harsh criticism.
I don't think these over-simplified constructs are very useful. By and large, a company like Toyota has some very good accomplishments and history for us to laud (the introduction of the Prius, their commitment to getting even more hybrids on the road, the sale (rather than just the lease) of a few of the RAV4 BEVs), and they have some points on which they, simultaneously, deserve the harshest of criticism.
For examples: Why did we have to beg them not to destroy vehicles which were so popular and which worked so well, and performed such excellent environmental duty by helping defer the creation of even more Global-Warming-Pollutants? Why do we have to beg them now to consider introducing a PHEV? If they have a special status amongst carmakers, as signatories to a special pact involving production of NiMH batteries for propulsion, then why do they continue to plead that the batteries do not exist to make affordable mass-production BEVs and
PHEVs? Most of these questions lead us to some answers which temper and contradict the theory that Toyota's is committed to making and selling the best possible vehicles.
Back to the Victory:
In the end, every mile that is driven by the NiMH-powered RAV4 BEVs that are left on the road is a mile that does more to further dispel the myths about these vehicles. This is part of what this protest has accomplished.... to allow these vehicles to continue to demonstrate, permanently, for the entire world, some of what can be done to make a good useable desirable BEV.
They are not "unworthy and unwanted". Although it is hard to understand
everything about a very non-transparent situation (hindered by a very confidential international legal agreement over NiMH batteries) there is mounting evidence to suggest that these NiMH vehicles, and whatever improved successors could be built, can be made affordably and in mass-production, and buyers can be found for them.
Since a broader mass-production effort has never been tried (by anyone, that I'm aware) it is difficult to predict with certainty that such an effort would be a success, but as this old RAV4 BEV effort is allowed to continue to show what can be done, with every mile we see that it is worth giving consideration to possibly making more of this type of vehicle.
We have these few vehicles continuing on the road because of the extraordinary commitment made by the protesters, and the willingness of a Toyota management team to finally listen to reason...although it took them a long time to do so. Toyota's management team's willingness to listen to reason can be contrasted, say, to GM's management team which was far more committed to crushing excellent in-demand vehicles for which they had significant cash-offers.
I keep thinking of the Ford Th!nk City EV situation. We should never have had to beg Ford (or any of these other automakers including Toyota) to not crush such popular excellent vehicles, but we did have to beg them. We finally succeeded in getting Ford to relent (apparently) and they agreed not to crush the vehicles, but to send them back to the maker, in Norway. They agreed not to dismantle the very plant itself, but to sell it. In the end though, it paid to be skeptical as to whether Ford had, as a collective, learned any lesson at all, and we had to go through the entire affair, all over again, with the Ford Ranger EV.
So, Ford deserved both credit and discredit, and (importantly) their excellent decision to not crush a BEV was not a sign that we could let our guard down or assumed that they had any good intentions or had learned anything at all. Their decision to relent and not crush a few Th!nk City EVs did deserve credit, but this does not mean that they should, as a collective, instantly be granted hero-status. They proved this when they so wrongly made us go through the whole thing all over again with the Ranger EV.
Likewise, we can apply this lesson to how we take our victory in this effort to stop Toyota from crushing BEVs. Although Toyota seems to have earned, overall, a higher consideration from many of us than we generally grant to Ford, in light of the extraordinary reliability of many of their vehicles, the excellence of their Hybrid commitment, etc., we can also withhold an overdone "full unqualified" praising of the company. We can note that we are glad that they stopped crushing BEVs, and ask why they made us beg them to do this, ...
... and why aren't they making more of what are, in the eyes of some, the very best vehicles that Toyota has ever made?
Imagine... a hybrid, or a pure EV?
Come on? What do you say?
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