Ugly behind the photo-op: Toyota's attempts to sabotage EV sales in the US to somehow gain market share for its hydrogen fuel cell vehicles may extend to other markets | Photo: NBC News

Toyota accused of sabotaging EV sales to shore up hydrogen fuel cells

A shocking new report by the New York Times said that Toyota Motors has been lobbying state governments and politicians in the US to try and stymie the sales of electric cars. It has been doing so as it has poured billions of dollars into developing hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars, in the hope that it would be the dominant technology in the transition to clean mobility. 

However, with the cost of the technology not able to compete with the increasingly more affordable lithium-ion batteries (and some other chemistries), Toyota had resorted to lobbying lawmakers on watering down auto emissions standards, and had been spreading misinformation and doubt about EVs. Known as a FUD campaign — fear, uncertainty, and doubt — it included statements such as, “If we are to make dramatic progress in electrification, it will require overcoming tremendous challenges, including refueling infrastructure, battery availability, consumer acceptance, and affordability”, made to the US senate by the head of energy and environmental research at Toyota Motors North America. Incidentally, Toyota was supposed to stop doing so in January this year, but it hasn’t.

Toyota’s lobbying also went far enough to enlist the support of lawmakers who eventually objected to certifying the last US presidential election results and declare Joe Biden as the winner. Despite all this, sales of plug-in battery hybrids have doubled in the US and 30-40% of customers would now consider buying an EV as their next vehicle. 

India: Rajasthan announces EV policy, no subsidies for electric cars

The Indian state of Rajasthan announced its EV policy and it allows for customers to receive between Rs5,000-Rs20,000 on the purchase of electric two- and three-wheelers — based on battery size. However, the state has excluded any subsidies for electric cars or buses, even though it receives heavy tourist traffic through both modes. The subsidies will reimburse the State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) to customers and are on top of those available under FAME-II. 

Tesla asks India to lower import duties, will open Supercharger network to other EVs

Tesla Motors asked the Indian government to lower its import duties for electric cars priced above $40,000 from 60% to 40%. The request comes as part of the manufacturer’s plans to import some units to test the market, before it sets up a factory in the country. The reasoning behind the figure of 40% is that it would allow wealthier customers to buy the cars — the base Tesla Model 3, for instance — but still spur enough domestic competition in the lower segments and boost local manufacturing. 

The carmaker is also looking to open its Supercharger network to other EVs to better utilise its charging stations. However, it is likely to charge non-Tesla customers a premium to use the service, but it will provide them with adapters to access the Superchargers’ unique connector configuration. 

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