Is this a response to the proposed combustion engine ban in Japan?
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda doesn't mince words. As the grandson of Toyota founder, Kiichiro Toyoda, the scion was raised surrounded by all aspects of the auto industry and his business acumen is second to none. So when he had some harsh words for electric vehicles at the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association end-of-year press conference last week, people took notice.
The Wall Street Journal was in attendance and noted the CEO's disdain for EVs boils down to his belief they'll ruin businesses, require massive investments, and even emit more carbon dioxide than combustion-engined vehicles. "The current business model of the car industry is going to collapse," he said. "The more EVs we build, the worse carbon dioxide gets… When politicians are out there saying, 'Let's get rid of all cars using gasoline,' do they understand this?"
Interestingly, we recently reported Toyota will supposedly introduce a game-changing solid-state battery next year capable of rapid-fast charging times and Tesla-beating driving range. If that's indeed the case, why is Toyoda suddenly bashing EVs and the necessary infrastructure?
The answer could be the Japanese government's potential plan that could result in a ban of all internal combustion-powered car sales by as soon as 2030. It remains unclear whether or not the ban will include hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Toyota was the first mainstream automaker to launch a hybrid back in 1997 with the first-generation Prius. It now offers a wide range of hybrids and PHEVs for both its namesake brand and Lexus luxury division.
The just-introduced second-generation Toyota Mirai, however, is technically an all-electric vehicle but relies on hydrogen fuel cell powertrain technology instead of batteries. Toyoda further explained to his audience that Japan would deplete its supply of electricity in the summer if all cars were running on electric power. The required infrastructure to support 100 percent EVs would cost the island nation between $135 billion and $358 billion, Toyoda estimated.
Furthermore, most of Japan's electricity is generated by fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, thus eliminating the entire concept of 'zero-emissions vehicles.' Akio Toyoda has a major influence in his home country and internationally. Governments everywhere should not ignore this.