Akio Toyoda, chairman of the world’s largest automaker, Toyota, took a stubborn stance on EVs. While other automakers have been pouring billions into developing EVs, Toyota was still betting on hybrids and PHEVs while selling just one EV in the bZ4X. After a relatively hot last couple of years, EV sales have cooled off. A lot of American buyers don’t want them and things like un-affordability and high interest rates haven’t helped things. And it looks as if Akio Toyoda may have been right to take the stance he did.
Speaking as head of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, the Wall Street Journal reports that Toyoda said automakers should have continued investment in hybrids instead of going all-in on EVs. He said the auto industry is realizing that EVs aren’t the only way to reduce carbon emissions. “There are many ways to climb the mountain that is achieving carbon neutrality,” Toyoda said.
Meanwhile Toyota can’t keep up with hybrid demand. The Journal said that in September 2023, Toyota dealers had “a little more than a week’s worth of Prius hybrids in stock, compared with more than two months’ supply of its electric SUV, the bZ4X.” The company’s next EVs are still a little over two years out.
Until things change, and it doesn’t look as if they will, Toyoda is standing firm in his stance on EVs. “I have continued to say what I see as reality. Someone needs to convey to the industry what will make car buyers most happy and if regulations are created based on ideals, it is regular users who are the ones who suffer.”
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