Colorado University Smart Grid project with Toyota Prius Plug-In fleet

Let's face it, Toyota does not believe in electric cars. Not the battery-powered plug-in kind anyway. Plug-in hybrids? Sure. Fuel cells? As soon as feasible. But a simple EV? No, that just isn't Toyota's thing – a few side projects notwithstanding.

"If the electricity is not sourced from renewables then electric vehicles make little sense."

The latest example of the company line comes from Didier Stevens, Toyota Europe's head of government affairs and environmental issues. He told Responding To Climate Change that EVs aren't a good idea as long as the electricity used to power them is full of carbon. Stevens' exact words were, "We always assess a vehicle from well to wheel. If the electricity is not sourced from renewables then it makes little sense." Good point, but if that's your logic, then why sell gas-powered cars? There's carbon in there, too, you know. Stevens also said, "We are looking with some concern at the German plan of having 1m electric vehicles on the road by 2020. If more and more of their electricity is going to come from coal, then this does not solve the problem. It just shifts the emissions to another area. This is not how it should be."

Stevens does feel that government regulations have been key to making gas-burning cars cleaner, and says that the same kind of force needs to be brought to bear on electricity providers: "Some pressure is always needed. Look at the progress made on CO2 emissions standards for cars, would that progress be made without targets? I doubt it."