Last week, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda offered hope to brand enthusiasts who would like the carmaker to put forward a more convincing EV strategy by unveiling the Hilux Revo BEV Concept in Thailand.
While the single cab electric pickup looked very close to production, Toyota did not reveal any specifications or a launch date. Akio Toyoda did say the Hilux Revo BEV Concept was "designed to support carbon neutrality and a better environment for all." He then went on to defend Toyota's cautious approach to electric vehicles, reiterating that the company does not believe in a full switch to BEVs just yet.
"I believe we need to be realistic about when society will be able to fully adopt Battery Electric Vehicles and when our infrastructure can support them at scale. Because just like the fully autonomous cars that we were all supposed to be driving by now, I think BEV's are just going to take longer to become mainstream than the media would like us to believe. And frankly, BEV's are not the only way to achieve the world's carbon neutrality goals."
While the above statement was included in the official press release, Akio Toyoda made similar comments to reporters present at the event.
Gallery: Toyota Hilux Revo BEV Concept
According to the Wall Street Journal, the chief executive and grandson of Toyota Motor founder Sakichi Toyoda said he is among the industry's "silent majority" in questioning whether EVs should be pursued exclusively.
"People involved in the auto industry are largely a silent majority. That silent majority is wondering whether EVs are really OK to have as a single option. But they think it's the trend so they can't speak out loudly."
Akio Toyoda's comments reflect a growing concern about how quickly car companies can transition to electric vehicles. While rivals like General Motors, Volkswagen and Honda have set dates for when their lineups will be all-electric, Toyota has invested in a diverse lineup of vehicles that includes hydrogen-powered cars and hybrids.
"Because the right answer is still unclear, we shouldn't limit ourselves to just one option," Toyoda explained. He did add that Toyota was taking all types of vehicles seriously, including EVs. In late 2021, the company pledged to spend up to $35 billion on its EV lineup through 2030.
That said, Toyota has been slower than most rivals to roll out fully electric models in major markets. In the US, the company currently sells only one EV, the bZ4X SUV. Recently, Toyota announced plans to launch five new bZ-branded EVs in Europe by 2026, but it's unclear how many of those—if any—will make it stateside.