Toyota Exec Says Internal Combustion Engine Will Be Dead In 2050




Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota’s Research and Development chief believes the ICE engine will die away by 2050, only to be found in about 10 percent of hybrid cars after 2040.

It seems every time we get a report from Toyota, someone is singing a different tune. The automaker just recently started a new ad campaign with the slogan, “We Choose Hybrid.” The company has balked at EVs for some time, focusing solely on traditional hybrid technology and heavily funding its future of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs).

Eventually, the largely successful Prius Prime (PHEV) came to market, though the automaker has yet to release an all-electric vehicle. It’s also still touting its Mirai FCV, which has seen tepid sales success and has received mixed reviews.


Toyota Mirai

Recent statements from the automaker solidify the fact that it will continue to pursue FCVs due to its significant early investment. However, execs at the company admitted to understanding that EVs may be the better way to go. Toyota believes that both platforms must exist and succeed to push ICE cars out of the market. An elimination of traditional hybrids would also need to occur, which Toyota avoids mentioning.

The automaker’s head of advanced R&D and engineering, Seigo Kuzumaki, now states that the existing global changes to emissions legislation, paired with the adoption of electric cars, will surely bring an end to ICE vehicles. Interestingly, he didn’t mention FCVs. Kuzumaki said:

“We expect that by 2050 we will have reduced CO2 emissions from vehicles by 90% compared to the figure in 2010. To achieve that from 2040 simple internal combustion engined cars will not be made, but they may be the basis of some hybrid or plug-in hybrid cars.”


Solid State battery

Aside from its push for further FCV development, Toyota is heavily researching solid-state batteries. In fact, the automaker plans to offer a revolutionary EV utilizing the up-and-coming battery tech by 2022. Kuzumaki shared:

“We hold more patents on solid state batteries than any other company. We are getting close to developing cars using the technology, and we believe that we will be ahead of our rivals in achieving that.”

Prior to its entry with solid-state batteries in 2022, Toyota aims to introduce a line of pure-electric vehicles beginning in 2020, which will use lithium-ion batteries. Meanwhile, Toyota holds a substantial chunk of the global market share for electrified vehicles. According to Autocar:

“At present, Toyota sells around 43% of all electrified vehicles globally, with the Prius being the best selling electrified vehicle in the world, with more than 11m sales to date. The best-selling full electric vehicle, the Nissan Leaf, currently sells around 50,000 units annually.”

It’s quite interesting that Toyota of all automakers is forecasting that the ICE engine will go away, however, the company is publicly advertising its choice of hybrids over other technologies, at least for the time being.

Keep the conversation going in our Forum. Start a new thread about this article and make your point heard.

Source: Autocar

Categories: Toyota

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77 Comments on "Toyota Exec Says Internal Combustion Engine Will Be Dead In 2050"

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I would be surprised if the ICE hangs on for another 30 years. As it’s market share declines the cost of maintaining the infrastructure will increase. Similar to heating your house with coal, or having a vacuum-tube based TV, stereo or guitar amp. You can probably still get these things in as niche market products, but just because they were common old technologies doesn’t make them cheap anymore.

They will just be driven by hipsters on their way to buy vinyl records and rotary dial phones.

By then hipsters will be driving to pick up their retro CDs and retro smartphones.

They do make rotary phones, but they work by translating the dial into tones. Its a novelty item.

My late father hung on to his rotary phone until the new century. He was not a luddite, he was computer engineer who liked to tweak the the phone company.

Short story: being the last holdout with a rotary phone drove the phone company *bat sh** crazy*. They were calling him constantly to try to get him to dump it for a new phone.

Hey some people are amused by small things…

That’s funny. My father-in-law, also an engineer, held on to his rotary phone into the 2000’s as well but for a different reason. It seems Bell South charged an extra $1.50 per month for touch tone service at the time, something every other human being in Georgia happily paid. But not him, he refused to pay that $1.50 for touch tone and maintained the rotary until Bell South made it mandatory.

The man literally squeaked when he walked he was so tight!

HAHA, well, I used to work for the telephone company – (after the Steel Plant job), and I still have my aunt’s rotary phone in my kitchen. Touch Tone (pushbutton tone service) has been offered free in my area since 1990 – so about the last 28 years. Some companies cannot detect ‘digital’ signalling methods on landlines anymore, and can only detect analog signalling. Thats why they insist on discontinuing dial pulse services since it is getting to the point when less than 1% of their subscribers use it, and the latest VOIP (voice over internet) equipment at times doesn’t recognize it. (Of course, amoungst residential (‘domestic’) land-line usage itself is getting more and more rare. Younger people get almost everything they need from Cellular (called MOBILE outside of the States) services so they don’t pay for 2 telephone services and they forgo the land-line for the most part). As far as ICE’s go, Some of these articles are just a wee bit premature – especially seeing last year was a record usage of the ICE machines, and with more types of usage than ever, such as being the engine of choice for large cruise ships (relatively high efficiency, plus… Read more »

90% dead in 2025.
100% dead in 2050.

Us or the ICE?

PS its about %20, I looked it up (of us that will be dead by 2050).

I dunno, it may be that the readership here skews older. Or at least the Usual Suspects, the ones who post frequently, do. Perhaps the bulk of readers skews younger than us Usual Suspects, though.

What is considered ‘old’?

Redundant, no further use to society, a drain on medical services, pension funds & allowances, forgetting why you went somewhere… the list is endless. At 70+ I KNOW these things!

The problem is not ‘forgetting where you put your keys’… lots of people who are younger have that problem.

Its not recognizing what the keys are when you find them that is the bigger problem. But seeing altzheimer’s is up 5 fold in places like California is no surprise to me.

Interesting that in the states we are in the second year of average life-spans declining. No surprise to me.

So what solution do the big experts find: cancelling Phys-Ed in schools. Or putting soda and vending machines in the halls, since apparently not every kid is yet ‘gravity challenged’.

Not use but sales.

Use will decline when tax gets higher.

I am always struck by how quickly the tube television died once volumes on flat panel TVs rose and prices dropped. I think the end of the ICE may come much more quickly than we realize, perhaps only 20 years.

Toyota earns money from customers. If they think it is wise to waste the customers money on FCV instead of investing in BEV they will not get more money from me. Our family has two Prius cars and two Tesla cars. We have ordered two more Tesla’s and will never ever buy a Toyota again.

60% of US market is trucks and SUVs. Most of these customers don’t even care about plain hybrid options for fuel economy. You are just out of touch with reality in your 1% Tesla dream land. Toyota sells today what customers want today for the price they are willing to pay, not in 2050. It may develop now what it will be selling 5 years later, but sales will come years later.

Toyota isn’t investing your money Peter. They are investing their considerable R&D budget in a direction that they think is right for them. Interesting that you still buy Tesla even after the Model 3 disaster, the pull back from China once govt funds dried up, the other crazy things that company have done ? Ok.

I would say that Baic in China said that it will be dead by 2025! So who is right here?

Maybe they both right? If everyone start buying EV by 2025, it takes 20+ years to retire majority of ICE car on the street.

The Chinese don’t have motorheads who love raised suspensions and extra large, loud and smoky exhausts….

Sadly, I’m one of the guilty ones. While I love my Tesla and Leaf, I’m planning to keep my V8 and Yamaha R1 for as long as I can buy gas conveniently.

I know nothing about the materials used to produce batteries. Só I guess in an ideal world quere in 2020 everyone whants to buy only Electric cars/trucks. Is it possible to mine enough lithium and other materials for a sustained 50 million BEVs per year…for say…20 to 30 years?

It does not pay to make those kinds of predictions. 20 years ago they predicted we would be running out of oil, and we were at the mercy of the middle east.

Now the USA is the largest oil producer in the world, and today they annouced Aramco is looking to buy into shale oil in the USA.

Yes, they are:

So those “we are running out of X” predictions aren’t worth the bits they are printed on.

Not largest but close… Saudi’s still pump more even though they are constraining output.

Then look at largest exporters… We’re still net importer.

Yes, Scott Franco, the sorry truth is it is the Big Oil companies themselves that like to broadcast the narative that there are ‘energy shortages’ since that allows them to keep the pricing of their products artificially high.

The earth is certainly awash in multiple, relatively easily available energy sources, more than at any time in human history.

It is also why Big Oil wants to hide this fact to make their profits higher.

That said, I don’t have any problem with the current petroleum infrastructure, since it has a very efficient distribution system, and the industry’s refineries are getting more and more efficient with every passing year, as a for instance utilizing the relatively poor quality/value process gasses rather than simply flaring them off.

Such efficiency inprovements make the Fuel Cell people cringe, since it makes competing against the corner gas station more and more of a challenge.

The lithium supply isn’t an issue. The Japanese have perfected a method of extracting it from seawater, and that can be used if the price gets somewhat higher than it is.

And in general, if the price of one particular mineral or element gets too high, industry finds a cheaper substitute. That’s how it always works.

What’s going to limit growth of EV production in the near term (the next 5 years or so) isn’t raw materials; it’s the rate at which production of certain things, such as batteries, can be ramped up. Or rather, the rate at which they will be ramped up, since the growth rate is almost certainly going to be significantly lower than demand over the next 5 years or so. Hopefully that will be only a short-term lag in supply vs demand, however.

By then Lithium has been replaced long time ago.
People tend to forget that new thinks do develop.

So Toyota counts the regular Prius as an “electrified car”. I guess because it has a battery. My ’67 Fairlane had a battery too. Does that make it an EV?

Electrified has always been the requirement of having an electric MOTOR for propulsion and a BATTERY to power it.

Only rhetoric would spin the definition, which has stood for 20 years, to mean something else.

Nope. Electrified is a meaningless term, and shouldn’t be used in the field at all. Among DIYers, it means taking an ICE car and replacing the drivetrain with an electric one.

Otherwise, the only companies that use it are trying to greenwash themselves by obfuscating the differences between plugless hybrids, PHEVs and BEVs.

Greenwash comes from implying different intent. Use of MOTOR and BATTERY for propulsion is obvious.

Are you really treating readers as so uninformed that they won’t understand more battery will equate to less gas used?

I’m not, but many of the car companies are. The Prius (plugless) hybrid is indeed a very efficient car, but that’s not just because of the drivetrain — it’s because of weight, aerodynamics and a very careful from-scratch design.
Toyota’s other hybrids, like the Yaris Hybrid and Auris Hybrid, aren’t much more fuel-efficient than the ICE versions… They’re not from-scratch designs, it’s not at all clear that the extra cost is worth it, or that the added complexity of design & manufacturing is greener overall. Ditto the Honda Jazz Hybrid.

That belief is anecdotal… and easy to disprove:

52 MPG from the 2018 Camry hybrid

These “other hybrids” also have older generation hybrid technology. They will reach better than 2018 Camry Hybrid economy once/if it will be updated in new generation models.

“Electrified has always been the requirement of having an electric MOTOR for propulsion and a BATTERY to power it.”

Yes on both counts. His car has a battery and a starter motor.

Starter motor is not designed, intended, or used for propelling the vehicle.

Yeah John1701a but who cares? I rarely drive my ev’s the way they were intended – I just hate suffering along with the modes I neither want, nor need, nor can do anything about.

All these words just to confuse.

Electrified and electric.

PHEV, HEV and and so on all the way to the real thing BEV.

IF you have a manual transmission and can move ithe Car around with the starter motor, then I guess you do have a PHEV. The sad thing is your range probably isn’t much shorter than the original plug in Prius

Even a non-plug-in HEV (hybrid EV) like the Prius is designed and built to be propelled only by one or more electric motors, even if that doesn’t happen very often. So yes, the ordinary Prius is an EV… altho a lot of EV purists will try to argue it’s not! (I guess they think the “EV” in “HEV” means something different… LOL!)

Was your ’67 Fairlane designed and built to be propelled only by one or more electric motors? Somehow I doubt it! 😉

Rad: When you have run out of gas on the ’67 Fairlane and you have to use the starter motor to crank the thing (hopefully it has a manual transmission so that you can do this) for a block to get the thing to the gas station to refill the tank it definitely qualifies as a HYBRID, if you charge the 12 volt battery up by driving around instead of using your garage trickle charger.

In that case, its a FULL BEV for the one-block-excursion.

These bombastic statements painted with the widest brush available and one can find, have very little meaning in scope of things.

Surely the curves will vary between … let say Brasil and Norway … or no? It will be simply dead everywhere, the same year? … LOL

Yeah, I was thinking that too. The gasmobile isn’t going to die off equally fast in all countries.

Hopefully new gasmobiles will be reduced to a tiny niche market in all first-world countries (and China) by 2035 or sooner, but likely they will hang on much longer in countries without a reliable electrical grid.

Many people who frequent this reader’s comment section might be dead by 2050 also.

The Self-driving car will also usher in more EV growth – because the two go naturally together. So when self-driving starts to really take off in 5 years – there will be a final big push to electrification. It is now inevitable. Whether it is 15 or 20 or 30 years – it is irrelevant.

Thank you Elon.

So will I (be dead), so don’t care.

Toyota execs think it will be 32 years before pure gasmobiles are a “dead” tech, and even then they think PHEVs will be a substantial part of the market?

Well, I suppose circa 1990, Kodak exec thought it would be another 30+ years before digital cameras were really popular, and that even then film cameras would still be a sizable part of the market!

“Recent statements from the automaker solidify the fact that it will continue to pursue FCVs due to its significant early investment.”

In other words, “We’re going to continue to throw good money after bad.”

“However, execs at the company admitted to understanding that EVs may be the better way to go.”

Only may be? Well, may be the world really does operate according to the laws of physics, too! 🙄

The primary reason for Toyota and others still pursuing FCVs is because of massive government grants. All the countries with auto companies pushing FCVs are government backed. Oil company lobbyists are highly successful at convincing politicians that this is the way to go. That way oil companies can switch to selling you hydrogen.

Oil (now called “energy”) companies are just fine selling natural gas to electric power plants and industry, why would they need to take over the business of industrial gas companies :/

There will be a very small number of service vehicles relying upon engines still, long after virtually all the rest of their fleet has abandoned them. Heck, just think about how long it will be until a both affordable & durable pickup EV (used for offroad & towing) will be available.

Think of it like film cameras. Very few are still used anymore, but they do indeed serve a small number of users in 2017.

In other words, the more informative perspective is to consider when the engine will become rare. That will obviously happen much sooner.

FYI you’re gonna get a lot of hate mail for that post…

That’s ok. Tesla boys call me FUDster and GM boys call me a sellout.

If we can solve the storage and pressure issues​ then hydrogen becomes a viable solution.

No it doesn’t. You’ve also got to solve the problem with the cost of H and the problem with the initial cost of FCs.

The link you provided points to a lab effort which sounds like is at best years from a demonstration project which would be years from a pilot project which would be years from deployment. That is ok because the other problems are also going to need that much time to solve. They seem to be on pace to be competitive with ICE about 5 years after BEVs have surpassed ICEVs.

Battery has long was to go. We are at 1% market share. It’s rounding error territory.

If you think lithium ion is going to move the masses to EV then you are out of your mind.

And HEV is 0.000000001% of the market. You sure you want to talk about insignificance?

HEV = hybrid, which has greater market share than EVs. FCV = fuel cell vehicle.

Anyways, FCV and EVs are rounding error. Unless there’s a breakthrough in battery or fuel cell technology, gas will power transportation until we run out or is cost prohibited.

Even current generation of H2 pressure tanks is just few dollars per kWh at mass production. Fuel cell stack may be around $40/kW at mass production without further “breakthroughs of the week”. That is why Toyota and other automakers are spending billions on it.

Toyota does suggest solid state batteries may solve slow charging and high weight issues next decade and make mass market BEV more feasible. But they explicitly say SS will not be cheaper.

Wake me up when Li Ion batteries will be at $5-10/kWh like hydrogen tanks.

Wake me up when there’s a hydrogen infrastructure in all cities across the entire U.S. How much will that cost? Who’s going to pay for it? How many years will it all take? Now tell me how many miles per charge will we be seeing with BEVs by this time?

Toyota Mirai FCEV: 67 MPGe
Hyundai Ioniq BEV: 136 MPGe

33 cents/mile on Hydrogen
3.3 cents/mile with a BEV

Looks like Mr. ZZZZZZZZZZ is dreaming thinking that FCEVs are the answer!

Exactly RCM. Especially since CNG technology also benefits from the new Carbon technology tanks, and can be fitted into more sizes allowing easier placement in the vehicle, since at 3600 PSI its about only 1/3 rd the pressure requirement of H2 vehicles – and seeing that home compression is far more practical, I’d give renewed CNG a shot sooner than H2.

“By going to complex metal hydrides, you get intrinsically higher hydrogen storage capacity and our goal is to enable hydrogen uptake and release at reasonable temperatures and pressures,” said Wan.

Still basic research in progress, many years before commercialization. But again this is a trade-off, yes high pressure heavy tanks are not required, but hydrides themselves are heavy so the real-world gain is not so much. No matter how you slice it, H2 will always be twice as expensive as electricity. Distribution will be a costly nightmare. I hope that FCVs are well and truly dead before this technology is ready for commercialization.

Good comment, to which I’d only add the words ‘very inefficient’ in describing FCVs.

I really don’t care what “electrified” means, a car is a car and every car is a story on it’s own. But if we look at cars that Toyota calls “electrified” I see a class leading MPG that nothing conventional comes near in real world driving, there may be exceptions (diesel highway), but the way cars are used (statisticly speaking) you just can’t beat “electrified” vehicle with conventional drivetrain. It’s all about MPG and oil use.

I also don’t care about HEV, PHEV, REX or BEV, if Toyota gives out a PHEV with tiny battery and lowest possible EV range, like 10 miles, but sells it for the same price as they do normal hybrids today and make 3 milions per year… I call that just as great effort as a manufacturer with hundred thousands BEVs per year.

I just don’t get what they are waiting for, give us a PHEV with that tiny battery already.

You mean Prius ?

Prius is too expensive, it may not be where you live, but it most certainly is where I live.

Toyota earns money from customers. If they think it is wise to waste the customers money on FCV instead of investing in BEV they will not get more money from me. Our family has two Prius cars and two Tesla cars. We have ordered two more Tesla’s and will never ever buy a Toyota again.

Good for you, if you have the money to buy Tesla, I don’t and majority (like 90+%) of world population doesn’t and looking at Tesla roadmap this will not change for same time.

In the mean time it’s good if Toyota can sell more efficient (100 MPG) gas cars that at least half of the worlds car market can actually afford.

Good for you.

Your 4 Tesla will have 320kWh of battery which will save 48,000 gas miles per year.

Toyota will use 320kWh of battery to produce 36 Prius prime which will save 328,5000 gas miles per year.

Toyota will be offering a BEV, in addition to the HV, PHEV, and FCV offerings. What’s wrong with diversifying to cover a variety of markets? After all, much of the hardware & software can be shared.

Take a deep look into Prius Prime. It takes advantage of the existing cell-stack design in its battery-pack. The tradeoff is physical size, but what you get in return is an robust & affordable offering.

The new Camry hybrid is amazing. 52 MPG from a larger, more powerful vehicle than Prius should really catch people’s attention… but won’t. The design is so subtle, it will just be part of the fleet. A model offering a plug will likely have the same “ordinary” appeal.

In other words, the short-sighted hype we encounter in online discussions don’t necessary reflect what mainstream customers will actually encounter.

HEVs are so 1997. It’s 2017 (almost 2018)!

Toyota did a good job innovating 20 years ago, but then they stopped.

Let us know when they ship a PHEV with at least 40 miles of all-electric range and 0-60 under 8 seconds. Or when they have a BEV with 200+ miles range.

Until then their offerings are just boring and sad.

That faster & further rhetoric falls on deaf ears at this point.

The upcoming trigger of tax-credit phaseout has shifted attention over to being affordable… which is exactly what Toyota has already delivered.

We still wait for GM to do the same. $27,100 MSRP with a standard set advanced of safety features is something Volt continues to lack, despite now being in the 8th year of sales.

It’s hard to believe you continue to evade that issue.

It’s hard to believe you don’t understand that consumers don’t care how a price is achieved, only what it is out-the-door. At the moment, a Volt and a Prime with the same features can be had for the same price out-the-door.

The difference is the Volt accelerates like a normal car and has 50+ miles of electric range. The Prime is a turtle with 25 miles of electric range on a good day.

Maybe all for this will change when the tax credits expire, but my bet is that MSRPs will just be reduced to makeup for it.

That turtle is beating the hare in total sales this year.

$27,900 MSRP for the Kia Niro PHEV.

GM is definitely falling behind now.

Until someone can meet the 40 miles of all-electric range that the Gen1 Volt had in 2010, then it’s not even a race on the PHEV front.

GM does/will have some competition from Tesla & Nissan on the BEV front. Doesn’t bother me since they’re both respectable innovators in the EV space. Unlike Toyota.

NICELY UNDER $30,000 was the target price GM set for Volt… which still hasn’t been delivered yet. MSRP is too high still. That’s what mainstream consumers have as a priority.

This is why Nissan, Toyota, and now Kia have focused on… not some arbitrary EV range an enthusiast deemed important.

Distract all you want from that reality… because it won’t change it.

Goodbye Toyota , Sayonara !