Toyota Beats Tesla as Desirable EV Brand in US

October 27, 2023 10:55:47

Toyota has surpassed Tesla as the top electric vehicle brand in the United States with only one battery electric vehicle (BEV) model in the American market. While Tesla has several best-selling EVs, including the Model 3 and Model Y, Toyota has one — the bZ4X — along with the popular Toyota Prius and RAV4 Prime as its hybrid offerings.

The Japanese automaker is one of the only automakers that hasn’t invested in battery electric vehicles in recent years, focusing instead on hydrogen-powered, plug-in vehicles in select U.S. markets. Toyota has also made significant investments in solid-state batteries, a new kind of EV battery that replaces liquid electrolytes with solid alternatives for greater safety and higher energy density.

Toyota has solidified its place in the auto market and has built a ton of customer goodwill and brand awareness over decades of operations. Even though Toyota essentially has limited alternative energy vehicle models, with its most popular being a hybrid, Toyota presents a more desirable electric vehicle brand compared to Tesla.

A 2023 survey of 6,000 American drivers found that 30% prefer EVs from Toyota and 23% prefer Tesla followed by Honda, GM and Ford at 20%, 15%,and 14% respectively. Even though Tesla essentially pioneered the global electric vehicle industry and has produced several bestselling EVs, consumers hold Toyota in higher regard as an EV brand.

The survey participants cited high prices as a barrier to EV purchase and noted that electric vehicle range and the availability of reliable charging infrastructure also influenced the decision to purchase an electric car. Thanks to its adoption of Tesla’s NACS charging system, which allows Toyota EVs to tap into North America’s network of superchargers, Toyota is basically covered on the charging front.

With the EV and battery-making segments constantly working to develop more efficient EV batteries, Toyota’s advancements in solid-state batteries may allow the Japanese company to make major breakthroughs in EV battery capacity and range. This would allow Toyota to pull ahead of other automakers and even surpass Tesla’s gigacasting in terms of efficiency and speed.

The fact that American consumers regard Toyota as the number one EV brand may be due to the automaker’s reputation for producing quality products. Toyota is extremely keen on quality control throughout the production process and is known for using raw materials of the highest quality regardless of price.

On the other hand, Tesla and other electric vehicle makers often have significant quality control issues. An Initial Quality Study by J.D. Powers from 2022 found that the quality of new electric cars has dropped by 11% year over year. The study noted that supply chain issues and the semiconductor chip shortage have also impacted the build quality of new electric vehicles.

As enterprises such as Kandi Technologies Group Ltd. (NASDAQ: KNDI) start commercializing their novel solid state batteries, EV models could go a lot farther and alleviate the range anxiety that has kept many from making the switch to electric vehicles, resulting in the competition for brand supremacy heating up even more.

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