Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda went on a rant about battery-electric vehicles at an annual meeting of the automaker. He spread misinformation about electric vehicles and claimed that it wasn’t a good idea to push for a massive electrification.
This small-mindedness could spell the end for the automaker if they don’t quickly let go of such ideas.
Toyota has yet to launch an all-electric vehicle outside of China.
Despite the fact that the company announced an acceleration of its electric vehicle plans last year, the Japanese automaker has been focused on hybrids and fuel cell vehicles, and it has often dismissed battery-electric vehicles.
This bad-mouthing of electric vehicles has often come directly from CEO Akio Toyoda.
Now he went at it again today during comments about the Japanese government’s announcement that they plan on banning the sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting in 2035.
The Wall Street Journal reported on his comments, which included claiming that battery-electric vehicles were more polluting than gasoline-powered vehicles due to electricity being mainly produced by gas and coal in some places — something that has been proven false by several studies.
Not only is it already not accurate in most places, it’s also short-sighted to focus on that considering the electric grid is also rapidly getting cleaner as new deployment of renewable energy is becoming significantly cheaper than coal and gas.
Toyoda claimed that electric vehicles are overhyped as being clean:
When politicians are out there saying, ‘Let’s get rid of all cars using gasoline,’ do they understand this?
The Toyota executive even said that “the current business model of the car industry is going to collapse” if the government pushes for gasoline vehicle bans.
Toyoda argues that electric vehicles are too expensive, and pushing for a mass transition to battery-electric vehicles will price people out of new cars.
You are damned right it will collapse, Mr.Toyoda, but not all of it — just companies led by short-sighted people like you who don’t have the courage to lead the transition to electric vehicles.
I am not as quick as most EV fans to relate Toyota’s reluctance to push electric vehicles with some kind of fossil fuel conspiracy, but at the same time, I also think that their insistence on pushing hydrogen is definitely something that the fossil fuel industry likes.
As for his point of battery-electric vehicles being too expensive, that just shows a lack of vision.
Toyota has introduced tons of manufacturing innovations that helped reduced the price of gasoline-powered cars.
The same is now happening with batteries and electric vehicles, but Toyota is just not part of it this time.
We just reported on electric vehicle battery costs dipping under $100 per kWh for the first time.
I am calling it. If Toyota’s leadership doesn’t show a massive shift in attitude toward electric vehicles in the next year, they are going to be done.
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