Toyota: 'No One Wants Us To Build Electric Cars'

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2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012

2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012

Well, here's one that may give electric-car owners and advocates a Friday morning chuckle.

Toyota is well-known not only as one of the world's three largest carmakers, but also the global leader in hybrids.

DON'T MISS: Toyota Fuel-Cell Ad Asks: Are You 'The Bold Few' Or A 'Handbrake'?

And it's a staunch proponent of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles that has repeatedly said it doesn't believe battery-electric vehicles will be viable in the auto market.

Pursuing that point, in a recent Los Angeles Times article about plans for fuel-cell cars from Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai, a company executive made a rather remarkable claim.

"No one is coming to our door asking us to build a new electric car," according to Craig Scott, the company's national manager of advanced technologies.

2002 Toyota RAV4 EV on eBay. Image: Plug In America

2002 Toyota RAV4 EV on eBay. Image: Plug In America

Now, we can think of at least a handful of drivers who might disagree somewhat with that assertion.

They'd be several hundred owners of surviving and beloved first-generation Toyota RAV4 EVs, now well into their second decade.

ALSO SEE: Tesla Deal To Supply Toyota RAV4 EV Powertrain To End This Year

They'd be the 2,600 drivers of the current Toyota RAV4 EV, whose sales are now winding down as Toyota has sold enough to meet its minimum compliance-car mandate.

And they'd be the 38,000 or so owners of Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrids.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

But even more, the statement begs two other questions.

First, in 1997, when Toyota launched the very first Prius in Japan, was that in response to requests from its customers for a hybrid-electric vehicle?

The 20-year-old history indicates that it wasn't--that instead the Prius resulted from an internal reearch project to halve the fuel consumption of a vehicle.

MORE: 10 Questions On Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Cars To Ask Toyota, Honda & Hyundai

Second, in 2014, are Toyota's customers coming to its doors and begging it to launch hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan at Aspen Ideas Festival [photo: Riccardo Savi]

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan at Aspen Ideas Festival [photo: Riccardo Savi]

[hat tip: Tom Moloughney]

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