‘Fool cell’ Toyota Mirai trounces ‘S-curve’ Tesla Model 3

Hand made Mirai. (c) Bertel Schmitt

Last October, we raised the possibility that Tesla’s alleged mass market car, the Model 3, could be out-sold by Toyota’s not-at-all-mass-market car, the fuel-cell powered Mirai. We called that a “strong possibility,” and a Toyota tipster said “if Tesla maintains its graceful pace of some 130 a month, for sure we will have made more Mirai this year by end of December.”

As the world is well aware by now, the Model 3 ramp-up was disgraceful, and as hard as it may have tried, Tesla could report only 1,770 Model 3 as sold to (mostly in-house) customers in 2017.

Today was December and calendar year 2017 numbers day in Japan, an opportunity to ask Toyota how its Mirai has been doing. [Continue Reading]

That’s going to hurt Elon Musk: Battery-partner Panasonic romantically involved with Toyota

The happy couple meets the press. Picture (c) Bertel Schmitt

Tesla-chief Elon Musk should need a few extra Ambiens tonight after he hears the news from Tokyo. His Gigafactory battery partner Panasonic today announced some sort of engagement with the world’s largest automaker Toyota, with the goal of developing the best batteries for EVs, the type of batteries that definitely are not on the table in the domestic partnership between Tesla and Panasonic. Will it lead to a giga-divorce?

Officially, Toyota and Panasonic today announced a rather innocuous-sounding “agreement to begin studying the feasibility of a joint automotive prismatic battery business,” and Tesla’s propaganda arms undoubtedly will assure the faithful that nothing is to be feared from it, and that, should it unexpectedly lead to something, “Elon will have it first.”

If you went to today’s press conference on the matter, you went home thereafter with a totally different impression.  The presser was called with only four hours of notice, always a sign that something important is afoot. We were invited not to come to Toyota’s usual basement-bunker meeting room, but to the grand ballroom at Tokyo’s swank Conrad. Despite the tight timing, every seat was taken.  So enormous was the occasion, that Toyota even laid on a feature-length YouTube video.

[Continue Reading]