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Toyota's CEO Still Not Sold on EVs

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda is still pushing his company’s interest in hybrids and hydrogen. And he says many in the industry agree with him.

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While the 20th century was the age of the gas engine, the 21st will be the age of the electric vehicle. Just about every automaker on the planet is pivoting to EVs. Billions are being thrown at vehicle and battery development. Billions more on the infrastructure needed to charge these vehicles. But not everyone in the industry is sold on EVs. Specifically, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda who the Wall Street Journal reports is still on the fence about going all-in on EVs.

While most automakers have been laying out their future EV plans, Toyota has seemed to remain committed to hybrids and hydrogen. Toyoda says that EVs shouldn’t be the only path forward. Hybrids and hydrogen, he believes, are great alternatives, especially as EV prices remain high — something Toyota pointed out. Toyoda says that he has tried to convince both industry and government officials of this and described the efforts as tiring.


Some in the industry agree with him as the Journal
 pointed out. Executives at both Nissan and Mazda have voiced skepticism on whether or not jumping all-in on EVs was too rushed or the right answer. Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida admitted the company may have been too aggressive with the first gen of the Leaf; Mazda has taken a more blatant and skeptical stance regarding EVs:

Mazda Motor Corp. executives once cautioned that whether EVs were cleaner depends largely on where the electricity is produced. They also worried that EV batteries were too big and expensive to replace gas-powered models and better suited to the types of smaller vehicles that Americans didn’t want.


But while Toyota has taken a slower, cautious approach with EVs, that doesn’t mean the company is fully against them. The company still plans to spend $35 billion through the next decade on EVs. Toyoda just thinks that consumers should have more options, saying hybrids and hydrogen can deliver an impact sooner rather than later. “Because the right answer is still unclear, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to just one option. It’s about what can be done now,” Toyoda said.