LOS ANGELES -- Toyota's interest in batteries has amped up, but Honda and Hyundai aren't shocked.
These three automakers have been the most vocal proponents of using hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, rather than battery EVs, as the core of their long-term strategy for zero-emission vehicles. So the news this month that Toyota is developing a long-range battery EV for the 2020 time frame might have been unnerving to the others.
After all, hydrogen infrastructure remains a key hurdle to widespread adoption of fuel cell vehicles, one that will be infinitely easier to clear with as many auto-makers as possible working toward a common goal.
For one member of the triumvirate to suddenly change course could have profound implications for the viability of hydrogen as a long-term strategy.
But to hear Honda and Hyundai tell it, Toyota's move was a necessary course correction rather than a cause for concern. Yes, hydrogen may be the long-term play for all three brands, but getting to that point will only happen with a multifaceted approach that includes a mix of hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles.