The boss of the world’s biggest car company, Toyota, has repeatedly called for a range of emissions-reduction technology rather than switching solely to electric power. Now, he claims, other auto industry leaders privately agree.
The head of the world’s largest automaker, Toyota, has again questioned plans for a complete switch to solely electric cars – and believes he is not alone.
Akio Toyoda, president and CEO of the Toyota Motor Corporation, has continued his call for more diversity in future automotive fuels as he promotes a potential role for hydrogen and biofuels.
“Frankly, (electric vehicles) are not the only way to achieve the world’s carbon neutrality goals,” said Mr Toyoda.
He said he believes consumers and carmakers also have doubts a total changeover, but are reluctant to speak out.
“That silent majority is wondering whether EVs are really OK to have as a single option,” he said, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“But they think it’s the trend so they can’t speak out loudly.”
“Personally, I would rather pursue every option, not just one option, such as emission-free synthetic fuels and hydrogen. I still believe hydrogen is as promising a technology for our future as BEV,” said Mr Toyoda.
“Let me correctly explain Toyota’s position. I would like you to think of Toyota as a department store offering every available powertrain.
“People are growing more diverse. There are all kinds of people, from those who already own and use (electric vehicles) to others who live in places with no access to charging facilities.
“Variety is what makes a department store. I think steering customers toward a single product would diminish the store’s value.
“We are serious about pursuing all options, as I hope our products will continue to demonstrate.”
Toyota led the world in petrol-electric hybrid vehicles with its Prius and produces the Mirai, which is fuelled with hydrogen to create onboard electricity from a fuel cell to power the car, as well as introducing the bZ4X – its first battery-electric model – in 2022.
“We have been investing in electrification since we first started working on hybrids, with our sights on building (electric vehicles),” Mr Toyoda said while outlining work on biofuels and batteries, which Toyota produces.
“The size of our current investments may appear small. However, if you look at Toyota’s activities over the past 20 years, the amounts are certainly not small and they reveal the reality of our wide-ranging investment.
“While we may not have explained things adequately, I think our products speak best for themselves.”
“In terms of volume, our goal by 2030 is sales of 3.5 million (electric vehciles). Toyota sells 10 million cars a year, leading some to ask why our target is ‘only 35 per cent’.
“Toyota sells cars in more than 200 countries and regions, with a vision of providing freedom of mobility for all. Our philosophy is that we want to leave no-one behind.”
Mr Toyoda also questioned the deadlines for the full electrification of motoring.
“I believe we need to be realistic about when society will be able to fully adopt … electric vehicles and when our infrastructure can support them at scale,” said Mr Toyoda.
“I am often criticised in the press because I won’t declare that the automotive industry should commit 100 per cent to (solely electric vehicles).
“Because, just like the fully autonomous cars that we were all supposed to be driving by now, I think (electric vehicles) are just going to take longer to become mainstream than the media would like us to believe.”