Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda simply stated yesterday, “I love cars,” emphasizing his lack of enthusiasm for electric vehicles (EVs).
Toyoda believes that electric vehicles are not the answer to achieving carbon neutrality. The company is focusing on the development of hybrid and fuel cell technology under his leadership.
Toyoda stated during his press conference in Las Vegas:
For me, playing to win also means doing things differently. Doing things that others may question, but that we believe will put us in the winner’s circle the longest.
Toyota intends to invest $70 billion in new energy vehicle (NEV) development over the next nine years. Half of that will be used to purchase battery electric vehicles (BEVs). While that is a significant sum, CNBC claims that it is still significantly less than competitors’ investments in the EV arena.
Making Friends with the Opposition
Despite being the world’s largest automaker, critics continue to criticize Toyota for its slow pace in EV development efforts. Instead of retaliating, the company has softened its stance toward critics in order to promote EVs.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is collaborating with critics to prevent further deterioration of its environmental image.
It claims that Toyota has been in discussions with Greenpeace and other environmental protection organizations in order to improve its image. It has also started reserving seats for environmental organizations at its EV-related press events.
Nonetheless, Toyota believes that HEVs are an important step toward EV normalization. It claims that the EV support infrastructure is still insufficient to meet the needs of the general public.
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