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Toyota CEO not ready to fully commit to EVs

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Chris Teague

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Automakers and governments the world around are increasingly pushing to transition to a world of electric vehicles, but some in the industry aren’t entirely convinced. Automotive News reports that Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota, recently told reporters that the grand goals laid out by some major automakers would be challenging to achieve.

Toyoda voiced those concerns at his company’s annual dealer meeting in Las Vegas. He also discussed hydrogen and hybrid propulsion as alternatives to an immediate and aggressive push for EVs. Toyota sells vehicles in nearly every country on the planet, so it has customers in places that are years away from having the infrastructure to support an expansion of EV adoption.

toyotaPhoto courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

Toyoda believes that hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles may be an excellent short-term alternative to EVs. He said that Toyota could build eight plug-in hybrid models with up to 40 miles of electric range for every 320-mile EV it can build, saving up to eight times more carbon in the process.

Toyota also said he thinks the transition to EVs will take “longer than the media would like us to believe.” While many automakers have invested billions in building EV battery production facilities and new factory lines, there are dozens – if not hundreds – of steps between investment and a drivable, saleable EV, not to mention the charging and support infrastructure needed to make it all work.


Toyota also made a significant financial commitment, pledging $70 billion to develop new EVs and zero-emissions vehicles. The automaker expects to sell 3.5 million electric units by 2030, which is only around a third of current sales. Toyoda acknowledged the lack of infrastructure to support EVs and said he believes it will be a speedbump to adoption. He noted that Toyota will continue pushing forward in the areas of hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to cover as much of the spectrum as possible, calling the brand the “department store of all powertrains.”

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