No Toyota, EV Demand Is Not The Issue

After years of under-estimating demand for electric vehicles, Toyota once again thinks electric vehicles aren’t ready

Brayden Gerrard

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Image by Ultratechn66 on Wikimedia Commons

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are on the rise — sales are rising rapidly and automakers all over the world are creating plans for how their business can shift to electric.

The Biden administration has taken note with a new EV adoption target for the the US: 50% of sales should be electric by 2030.

But curiously, a senior executive at Toyota threw some shade on the goal in a recent webinar:

I don’t think the market is ready. I don’t think the infrastructure is ready. And even if you were ready to purchase one, and if you could afford it … they’re still too high [priced].

According to Jack Hollis, executive vice president of sales with Toyota North America, there just isn’t enough demand for EVs to meet the target.

Unfortunately, skepticism of EVs is nothing from the leadership of Toyota. From the very beginning of the EV revolution, Toyota has placed their bets elsewhere.

In 2013, not long after the first mass-produced EVs hit the roads (including offerings from competitors like GM and Nissan), Toyota was very clear that that they had no intention of joining the party.

“The reason why Toyota doesn’t introduce any major [all-electric vehicles] is because we do not believe there is a market to accept it.” — Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada in 2013

It took another three years before Toyota would create a (badly understaffed) in-house development team for EVs.

Instead, Toyota focused their efforts on two different technologies — Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) that use hydrogen as fuel and hybrids.

Unlike plug-in hybrids, normal hybrids are essentially just more efficient gas vehicles. Instead of utilizing a traditional internal combustion engine, hybrids convert gas to electricity that powers electric motors. While this allows hybrids to achieve better fuel economy, they are still reliant on gas.

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Brayden Gerrard

Electric Vehicles | Green Energy | Data Science | Contact: gerrard.brayden@gmail dot com