The automaker believes there are other solutions to consider.
Toyota is working on cleaning up its act to reduce carbon emissions, like the rest of the major auto manufacturers. To that end, the Japanese carmaker has revealed plans for its own electric truck and is working on an electric SUV too. However, Toyota's CEO hasn't always had the kindest things to say about EVs.
Toyota's director agrees with him, it seems, and at an annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Shigeki Terashi said, "It's too early to concentrate on one option." This came after an investor asked why Toyota is not following Honda's lead and aiming for a fully electric lineup by 2040. But why does Toyota as a whole feel this way?
Simply put, Toyota doesn't want to bet it all on black, or green, as the case may be. Terashi continued to explain that in the years leading up to 2050, different options including fuel cell or hydrogen vehicles (like the Toyota Mirai) and hybrid vehicles need to compete against one another to determine which options are best.
"Some people love battery-electric vehicles but others don't see the current technologies as convenient," Toyota's Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda said. "In the end, what matters is what customers choose." Toyota also understands that EVs sacrifice some of the main attributes that gearheads enjoy about a car, things like sound and vibration, which is why it has proved that fuel cell vehicles can sound just like gas cars.
Another factor that may be playing a role in this reluctance to fully adopt EVs is that, according to some studies, the materials that go into manufacturing EVs and specifically their batteries could cause more emissions than traditionally-powered cars. With that in mind, Toyota is aiming to streamline its production process to lower the cost (both financial and environmental) of producing all types of vehicles.
Terashi says that Toyota is assessing everything from production, use, and scrapping-related emissions of battery electric vehicles. "We're choosing to look at the whole lifecycle," concluded Terashi. Toyota seems to be taking its commitments to the future seriously and responsibly, if slowly.