Toyota is the world's largest car maker, and it's still not really on board with fully electric vehicles. The company, its CEO, and other high-ranking executives insist the market isn't ready for EVs even though there's been a huge boom in interest. Yet another Toyota executive this week defended the company's EV plans
Each time a new report comes out about a Toyota executive's look into the future, it seems the story is the same, even though the world around them is changing rapidly. While most automakers are finally moving forward with fully electric cars and embracing them publically, Toyota is defending its plans to continue offering multiple powertrain options, leaving the decision to the customer.
Toyota recently brought a new fully electric SUV to market. However, sadly, the bZ4X was almost immediately recalled since a manufacturing issue could lead to its wheels falling off. Now that the issue is taken care of, we'll have to wait and see if Toyota works to actively sell the electric crossover.
Gallery: Toyota bZ4X (U.S.)
At any rate, Toyota continues to point to the high price of EVs, the lack of demand, and the limited charging infrastructure. While all of these concerns are still true to some degree, they're not nearly as much of an issue as they were when Toyota first started pushing back against EVs.
Electric cars are certainly more expensive than gas cars, but there are some cheaper EVs available. Owners also standard to save a significant amount of money on the cost of fuel and maintenance. There's also a new US federal EV tax credit that will help people afford EVs, and it will be available at the point of sale.
The demand for EVs is now growing exponentially, so it's hard to still push that narrative. Charging infrastructure definitely needs to grow, especially in outlying areas, but most people charge at home. In addition, the US government just kicked in tons of funds to build out a national public EV charging network.
With all of that said, Toyota's VP of Sales and Marketing in Australia, Sean Hanley, recently debuted the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid. According to Electrek, after his speech, the VP fielded questions from the media. Of course, he was asked about the automaker's EV plans and overall progress in reducing its carbon footprint. Electrek reported that the executive appeared to get somewhat defensive.
Hanley said Toyota isn't opposed to battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), but that carbon neutrality requires "taking everyone on the journey." He added that carbon is the enemy in this situation, not a car's powertrain. He said Toyota agrees that carbon is a problem and that we need to take steps to become neutral, but that the automaker doesn't necessarily agree with others about precisely "how and when you get there."
The Toyota exec provide an example of his reasoning, which, as we mentioned above, parallels previous comments from other Toyota officials, including CEO Akio Toyoda. First, he defended Toyota against the critics by sharing:
"We are the only car company that represents 30 percent of our sales that are hybrid right now. That is playing a role in reducing (emissions)."
Electrek says that Toyota calculates that three hybrids are about equal to one fully electric model (BEV). The publication goes on to suggest that the company is saying its 300,000 gas-powered hybrids sold in Australia can work to reduce carbon emissions about the same as 90,000 BEVs. What do you think? Leave us a comment.