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Toyota Remains Unmoved About EV Strategy as Criticism Mounts – Green Car Stocks

October 6, 2022
Most major automakers have committed to electrifying their vehicle lineups over the next couple of decades. Established car companies such as Ford and Hyundai have already begun producing electric cars for the mass market, and those that haven’t produced an EV have pledged to unveil electric models in the coming years. However, one major automaker has held back from making any electric vehicle amid increasing criticism from various sectors.
Toyota, which popularized the hybrid powertrain with the Toyota Prius Hybrid, has no set strategy for battery electric vehicles. Instead, the Japanese automaker seems to have put all its hopes on hydrogen fuel cell cars. The Toyota Mirai is one of the only fuel cell cars on the market right now, and Toyota has indicated that it intends on investing in hydrogen fuel cell technology in the near future.
Last Thursday, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said that the company planned on pushing forward with its fuel cell EV strategy and will soon unveil a lineup of electrified vehicles that run on liquid hydrogen and traditional rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs. Over the coming years, the Japanese automaker will invest nearly $70 billion in electrified cars, with $35 billion being invested in all-electric models over nine years.
This announcement comes amid criticism from investors and environmental groups which felt that Toyota was transitioning to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) too slowly. Unlike other automakers that have embraced BEVs, Toyota, with Akio Toyoda at the helm, has adopted a carbon emissions strategy that isn’t centered around battery-powered electric cars. The automaker plans to have produced 3.5 million EVs by 2030 and that would only make one-third of its total car sales.
Comparatively, other automakers plan on completely phasing out the combustion engine and exclusively selling battery electric cars over the next two decades. And even though the hybrid Toyota Prius is still one of the most fuel-efficient, gas-powered cars on the market, critics can’t get over the fact that hybrids still use combustion engines. Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All Campaign director Katherine Garcia argued in a recent blog post that hybrids are not green because they run on carbon-emitting combustion engines.
In a recent study of 10 carmakers’ efforts to decarbonize their production lines, Greenpeace ranked the Japanese automaker last, stating that its sales of zero-emission cars made up less than 1% of its total vehicle sales. Even so, Toyota is keen on following its strategy of providing a wide array of electrified vehicles, not just battery electric cars.
Should Toyota later change its strategy in favor of fully electric vehicles, it is likely to find startups such as NIO Inc. (NYSE: NIO) have already consolidated their position in the market and muscling a share from these early adaptors may prove to be an uphill task for the legacy automaker.
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