Toyota Doubts All-Battery EVs Will Be the Future

Akio Toyoda, Chairman of Toyota Motor Corp., recently voiced his belief that battery electric vehicles (EVs) will only capture up to 30% of the automotive market share.

Toyoda, the grandson of Toyota’s founder, emphasized the importance of offering a range of vehicle types, including hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, and traditional fuel-burning cars, particularly in light of the global energy disparity.

During a business event this month, Toyoda highlighted the fact that a billion people worldwide live without electricity. He argued that restricting vehicle options to expensive electric cars could limit the ability to travel for many. According to Toyoda, as reported on Toyota’s media platform, “Customers — not regulations or politics — should make that decision,” noted Bloomberg.

Toyota, the world’s leading car manufacturer, has faced criticism for lagging in the transition to electrified vehicles. However, the company defends its strategy, citing its pioneering work in hybrid technology, hydrogen power, and a broader approach as ultimately beneficial for business, customers, and the environment. Seems like Toyota is gaslighting consumers that all-battery EVs won’t be the future.

Earlier this month, Toyoda announced a new initiative to develop combustion engines, reinforcing his view that “Engines will surely remain.” The context of his remarks, whether about new car sales or existing vehicles, was not specified.

A forecast by BloombergNEF predicts that EVs will constitute 75% of new car sales and 44% of passenger vehicles on the road by 2040. Despite this, Toyoda has long advocated for a “multipathway approach,” suggesting that customers should have the choice of powertrain that best suits their needs, and implying that the shift to EVs might not be as rapid as expected.

In line with this approach, Toyota’s Chief Executive Officer, Koji Sato, committed last year to selling 1.5 million battery EVs annually by 2026, and increasing this to 3.5 million by 2030.

Toyota has long been stressing hybrid-EV solutions, instead of all-battery EVs. The company’s oddly-named bZ4X has yet to make strides in the market.

What do you think? Is Toyota so far behind in the EV revolution that it continues to hold onto its gas car and hybrid model?