Toyota’s president is questioning whether the push for the auto industry to phase out gas-powered vehicles and go exclusively electric is the right decision.
Akio Toyoda made the comments to reporters in Thailand after the auto manufacturer said around this time last year that it would produce 3.5 million electric vehicles annually by 2030, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“People involved in the auto industry are largely a silent majority,” Toyoda said. “That silent majority is wondering whether EVs are really OK to have as a single option. But they think it’s the trend so they can’t speak out loudly.”
Toyoda reportedly has been trying to express that point to governments and industry stakeholders.
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Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda.
“Because the right answer is still unclear, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to just one option,” he added.
Toyota’s rivals, including General Motors and Honda Motor Company, have set dates for when their lineups will be all-electric. However, Toyota has invested in a collection of models that includes hydrogen-powered cars and gas/electric hybrids, The Wall Street Journal reports.
General Motors is set to rapidly ramp up its electric car production in North America from about 50,000 this year to one million in 2025, but it is not parking its internal combustion engine cars and trucks just yet.
“The ICE age is not over,” GM President Mark Reuss had told FOX Business in an exclusive interview in November ahead of the company’s investor day presentation in New York City.
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“We’re not going to abandon our internal combustion engine segments,” Reuss said.
As of October, electric vehicles comprised of just 6.5% of the total new-car market, the newspaper says, citing data from J.D. Power.
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The making of electric vehicles requires the construction of new battery and production plants, according to The Wall Street Journal, while consumers also have expressed concerns including price and the availability of charging stations.
“The coastal areas, the East and West Coast, that’s electrifying much quicker than the interior of the country,” Jim Rowan, the CEO of Volvo Cars, also told the newspaper, suggesting that the adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S. could vary depending on geographic location.