Brett Mills from Ken Mills Toyota

Driving Options with Ken Mills Toyota

Image source: Photographer Kieran Tunbridge

For some, the future of motoring may raise more questions than answers. But, as John Caruso discovers, Toyota demonstrates that the journey is just as important as the destination and they’re not leaving anyone behind.

In our previous issue we introduced you to Brett Mills, dealer principal for Ken Mills Toyota. Our podcast episode of Everyone Has a Story delved into Brett’s background and history, and we discussed all things Toyota, looking ahead to what lies in front of us on the motoring landscape. Toyota had just launched its first fully electric vehicle, the bZ4x with full-service leasing and buy back option, and Brett was about to experience what owning an EV was like.

“The research we’ve seen is that people use an EV like a mobile phone,” he said. “They use it during the day and then plug it in overnight and it’s ready to go again the next day – and that’s how I started and as I got more confident, I worried less about the range and less about it being fully charged.

“I didn’t feel ‘range anxiety’ driving the bZ4X, however I felt I didn’t have the time in my day to sit at a café or charging station to recharge the battery if I was on the road. Fortunately, we have chargers at the dealership, however I realise not everybody has that option.”

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 55% of Aussie households have two or more vehicles, so it may be a case of ‘horses for courses’ when it comes to the type of vehicles Aussies keep in their garage.

“It’s foreseeable that because of many factors, motorists might have an EV plus some sort of SUV or vehicle with a combustion engine; and you’ll jump in the car that suits your needs on that particular day,” Brett said.    

There’s no doubt Toyota has earned immense trust as a brand, considering they were at the forefront of hybrid technology twenty-five years ago. This trust is deeply ingrained within the motoring community and as we navigate this new landscape with EVs, interest from consumers in the bZ4x was strong.

“Prior to the launch there were more than 7,000 who registered their interest in our EV, which is equivalent to the numbers we see for a new Land Cruiser, Prado or Hilux,” he said. “However, those numbers haven’t converted to the same percentage of sales, and when I talk to people in the showroom, there’s still a bit of hesitation. I believe they trust in the Toyota brand, but they represent the mass market that still have a few questions over exactly what will best suit their needs.”

This is why Ken Mills Toyota has had the second-generation Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) on their showroom floor recently, demonstrating and strengthening this multi-path approach that the Japanese manufacturer is committed to.

“The Mirai in its current form is not really a genuine sale item for most people,” Brett admits. “Consumers are still watching this space – vehicle propulsion and decarbonisation options, they’re not sure EVs are the answer and the Mirai is simply demonstrating that Toyota is exploring all avenues.

“Toyota has made a huge investment into a hydrogen fuel cell concept, assembling hydrogen generators and fuel cell generators in Victoria, they’re using hydrogen in combustion engines and they’re using ammonia in engines – so there’s a lot happening in the background. It’s like how we listen to music – it used to be cassettes, vinyl records, CDs, mp3s and iPods, all those things are gone now.

“The future of motoring is similar and there’s more in the pipeline – more tech and more developments that haven’t even been thought of yet. Toyota’s multi pathway approach is about not leaving anyone behind,” Brett explains.

Toyota’s commitment to innovation and sustainability, embodied in the bZ4x and the Mirai, is a testament to their vision for the future. The road ahead may be uncharted, but with pioneers like Toyota, we can navigate the options with confidence. 

WANT MORE? Download the interview with Brett from our podcast.

About the Author /

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After 30 years in radio, John now runs the Conversations IN Noosa podcast and in between being our writer, sanity checker, accounts manager, event MC, and delivery boy; he spends time with his first love, recording a daily Drive program for regional radio from home (often in his pyjamas); and presenting Saturday mornings on Hot 91.1. He has previously worked for FoxFM Melbourne, Triple M Brisbane and SeaFM, as well as managing and presenting on ABC Sunshine Coast.

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