Toyota r&d boss: EVs in need of a Nobel idea

Kato: EVs face “vicious cycle”

The technology needed to make electric vehicles viable hasn't even been invented yet, says Mitsuhisa Kato, Toyota's global r&d chief.

"The cruising distance is so short for EVs, and the charging time is so long," said Kato. "At the current level of technology, somebody needs to invent a Nobel Prize-winning type battery."

To deliver the range of a regular gasoline vehicle, today's EVs need more batteries, which in turn would increase the cost and charging time, he said, calling it a "vicious cycle."

Meanwhile, Toyota is willing to wait for the next Albert Einstein or someone of that ilk to put a charge into EVs.

Kato dissed battery-powered cars while unveiling Toyota's green alternative: Its FCV hydrogen fuel cell car set for sale next year.

Indeed, by the time the Toyota FCV arrives, Toyota's lineup will likely be EV-free. Production of its last EVs, the eQ electric minicar and RAV4 EV crossover, will have finished by year end.

Toyota will continue r&d into EVs, but, Kato adds, "there's a limit to the number of customers who want to have a short cruising-range vehicle. If the need arises, we are ready to immediately launch."