Toyota’s New CEO Prioritizes Hydrogen in Carbon Neutral Strategy

Koji Sato emphasizes the importance of hydrogen alongside electric vehicles in the company’s future.

Toyota’s incoming CEO Koji Sato has announced that hydrogen will play a significant role in the company’s carbon neutral strategy, alongside a stronger focus on electric vehicles. Sato aims to expand hydrogen infrastructure and its applications across various industries by the end of the decade, ensuring that it remains a viable energy option, reports Automotive News.

“We want to ensure that hydrogen stays a viable option,” Sato said on March 18 during a weekend endurance race where Toyota planned to field a hydrogen-powered race car. “We need a production and transport supply chain. Unless we see evolution there, we cannot expect a volume increase in the energy’s use.”

Sato, who takes over as CEO of Toyota Motor Corp. on April 1, previously stated that the world’s largest automaker must adopt an “EV-first” mindset and “drastically change” its business approach. A new dedicated EV platform is currently in development, set to launch in 2026, which will deliver more affordable and better-performing EVs.

Although Toyota has been more cautious in discussing its hydrogen plans, Sato believes that hydrogen will be crucial in the company’s multi-pronged approach to achieving carbon neutrality. This strategy leverages full EVs, hybrids, and hydrogen technologies.

“We are making full-fledged efforts on everything,” Sato said. “It is important to remain flexible in order to tailor products and energies to different carbon neutral needs in different markets.”

In addition to Toyota’s efforts, Sato emphasized the importance of collaboration with more partners to build a network of companies manufacturing, delivering, and using hydrogen. Yasuhiko Hashimoto, President of Kawasaki Heavy Industries, shared this sentiment, stating that “Hydrogen will be an indispensable future energy.”

While Toyota is committed to promoting hydrogen as a key part of its carbon-neutral strategy, Sato clarified that the company would not take a proactive lead in investing in infrastructure and logistics: “It’s not that Toyota will take a proactive lead in making these investments.”

Recently, Toyota executives tore down a Tesla Model Y and called it a ‘work of art’, due to the manufacturing advances of the compact crossover electric vehicle. It remains to be seen if hydrogen will take off as so far, electric vehicles are the way to go based on vehicle sales.