Watch Out, Toyota . . .

  • April 23, 2024

Toyota will probably be the next target. The first was VW.

VW was targeted because it was selling too many vehicles that made electric vehicles look ridiculous at the very critical moment when EVs were just beginning to be pushed seriously.

You may remember the so-called “cheating” – on federal emissions certification tests – imbroglio that resulted in VW pulling off the market its very successful (because very popular) TDI diesel engines, which had been available in practically every model vehicle VW sold until about 2015, right around the time the EV push really began in earnest.

VW’s TDI engines not only delivered 50-plus MPG – and 600-plus miles of driving range – they  They were also available in low-cost vehicles such as the Jetta sedan, Golf hatchback and New Beetle, which were all cars almost anyone could afford to buy.

And that could not stand.

Who, after all, would want to buy a $50,000 electric vehicle with a putative (not actual) driving range of maybe 250 or so miles that effectively forced the person who bought it to plan their life around recharging it –  assuming they could afford it – when they could buy a $23k diesel-powered Jetta or Golf that could be driven more than twice as far before it was necessary to stop for less than five minutes to refuel it?

The answer is – very few people.

More finely – many more people would have continued to buy VW’s low-cost, long-range diesel-powered cars and that would have made it clear that most people either didn’t want an EV or couldn’t afford one. It would have made it much harder for other automakers to justify making more EVs rather than more vehicles like VW’s TDI-powered vehicles.

It was not accidental that VW was singled out – rather than Mercedes or BMW or Audi, all of which also sold diesel engines.

The “cheating” VW was accused of was incidental because – in the first place – every vehicle manufacturer programs their vehicles to produce the lowest emissions (and highest gas mileage) on the tests. In real-world driving, the emissions are always a little higher and the gas mileage lower – because people will drive them in such a way as to override the programming. The government knows this. Everyone in the car business knows it. It has never been cause for a crusade – until VW.

In the second place, the emissions were in fact incidental.

As in fractions of a fraction’s difference. You have probably heard that VW’s diesel produced “up to 40 times” more than the allowable quantity of oxides of nitrogen. Note the mendacious “up to” (which should always be translated as much less than). And it was almost never explained that the “40 times” more was in reference to a fraction, not a whole number.

What mattered was the VW was selling affordable diesels, which meant it was selling a lot of them. The high-end brands – Mercedes, BMW, Audi – sold a few to the affluent and it didn’t matter because those diesel-powered vehicles were as expensive as EVs.

So VW had to be nailed to the cross for its sins.

Will Toyota be next?

Toyota sells a number of low-cost, high-mileage, long-range vehicles that also make EVs look ridiculous. Models like the ’24 Corolla hybrid I just finished test driving (you can read the full review here). This Tesla Model 3 sized sedan stickers for $23,300 and goes 53 highway miles on a gallon of gas. It goes 600 highway miles on 11 gallons of gas  – a full tank – which takes about three minutes to fully replenish.

The ’24 Tesla Model 3 stickers for $38,990 with its standard-range battery that might allow you to drive 270 miles in the city. If you take it on the highway – or out in the cold – it will go a lot less far than that. And regardless, when it runs low on charge you will have to wait at least 20-30 minutes at a “fast” charger (which is only “fast” in relation to how slow it is to charge at home, where it takes hours to recover a partial charge).

The whole thing’s absurd. More finely, hybrids like the Corolla – and the new hybrid Camry – make EVs look absurd. Just like VW’s TDI-powered affordable, long-range vehicles made EVs look absurd.

And that will not be allowed to stand.

The EV pushers – who aren’t really pushing EVs, per se, but rather using EVs to push most of us out of driving – will find an excuse to go after Toyota. Just as they found one to go after VW. The cretinous EPA apparatchik Michael Regan has already hinted at what it will be. Hybrids – especially the ones that have the ability to recharge by plugging in – aren’t being plugged in often enough. They are running on engine power too much. Their emissions are thus too much – even though (as in the case of VW’s TDI diesels) they amount to nothing much.

The dirty little secret the EPA doesn’t want people to know is that “emissions” have been a non-issue for decades, since the late 1990s – by which time almost all (as in better than 98 percent) of the meaningfully harmful emissions had been eliminated by then. Which is now 30-plus years ago. To admit this would be to concede that further emissions regulations were unjustified because unnecessary. And that would imply the EPA, itself, is no longer necessary.

And that will never be allowed to stand.

So, “emissions” were reframed – to encompass carbon dioxide, which was never before regarded as an emission in the regulatory sense because C02 has nothing to do with air pollution. Or – for that matter – with “climate change.” You have to believe that increasing the 0.04 percent of the Earth’s atmosphere that’s C02 by a fraction of that fraction causes it  to believe that – which is as silly as believing that “up to 40 times” as much of something is actually 40 times as much – and that it’s not a fraction of a fraction’s difference and so meaningless.

Never mind. It’s the politics that have meaning. And Toyota is running very politically incorrect at the moment.

Hopefully, Toyota won’t cave and beg forgiveness – as VW did. And if it doesn’t, it will have an effect similar to Florida’s taking off the Face Diapers, which gave courage to other states to do the same.

. . .

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