Toyota Warns Shift to EVs Could ‘Leave Customers Behind’

Photo: Toyota

Toyota CEO Aki Toyoda said that a move to only selling EVs could leave customers behind in a meeting with U.S. journalists on Thursday (via Wall Street Journal).

Toyoda noted that promoting hybrids and plugin hybrids in the short term while planning for the long term with EVs was a worthy cause, especially for customers in disparate markets.

“We don’t want to leave anybody behind,” he said at the press conference.

In the press event, Toyoda compared the automaker to a department store since it had the ability to serve a broad range of needs for the customers.

The statements were made at Toyoda’s first overseas press appearance since before the pandemic began. The CEO tried to convince investors and reporters that lacking grid and electrical infrastructure and battery material shortages in certain areas of the world remain formidable challenges to EV adoption.

Toyota is investing $5.6 billion into a shift to EV battery production, but this is not the first time the automaker has cautioned against going fully-electric.

A report in July 2021 showed that Toyota has been quietly lobbying against EVs in Washington D.C. in the past few years, despite pioneering the hybrid movement with its acclaimed Prius over a decade ago. The report also held that Toyota was continuing research into hydrogen propulsion.

“The best way to understand what we’re trying to do is to present our product,” he said.