Toyota Being Forced Into Making Electric Vehicles?

Toyota is being pressured by environmental groups like Sierra Club and Greenpeace into producing more electric vehicles.

By Gabriella Acuna | Updated

Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, have criticized carmaker Toyota Motor for its slow transition to fully producing electric vehicles. Their approach has included the production of hybrid vehicles such as the Prius, which is one model belonging to the group of Toyota vehicles that are either hybrid, plug-ins, all-electric, or hydrogen-electric. Toyota CEO, Akio Toyoda, continues to stand behind his corporate strategy, believing that reaching carbon neutrality can be achieved in more than one way. 

Government officials in charge of regulating the electric vehicle industry have been skeptical of Toyota’s strategy as the Toyota CEO remains firm in his decision. Toyoda spoke to attendees at the Toyota dealer conference in Las Vegas, stating that customers will be able to decide what type of vehicle they’d like to buy. The company has created numerous electric vehicle options for customers to choose from. 

Toyota will continue to offer customers gas-powered vehicles to appeal to those who may not want to switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle. “That’s our strategy and we’re sticking to it,” said Toyoda to reporters, CNBC reports. He believes that full electric vehicle adoption will take much longer than expected, which is partially why he has decided to take a slower approach to a complete electric vehicle production. 

According to CNBC, the Toyota CEO stated that the company will “present the hard facts” about the differences of the impact between electric and hybrid-vehicle production. Toyota has sold over 20 million electric vehicles worldwide since 1997, including the popular hybrid-model Prius. The company’s electric vehicle sales have resulted in the prevention of 160 million tons of CO2 emissions

Toyoda believes that the regulations that other states like California and New York have implemented are going to be hard to follow. The two states recently introduced a rule that says new non-electric vehicles sales will be banned by 2035, although used gasoline-powered cars will still be allowed for sale. The Toyota CEO said that making electric vehicles mainstream will take longer than the 13 years the two states placed as the time limit.

The executives on the Toyota team have followed their CEO’s lead, believing that electric vehicles are not the only solution to meet strict global emission standards through a reduction in carbon output. However, the company’s executives have continued to increase their investment in all-electric vehicles. Toyota plans on continuing to invest in other solutions and hybrid vehicles like the Prius, which uses electric vehicle technology in conjunction with the traditional engine. 

As a global leader in automotive production, Toyota previously emphasized its belief that not every country can be as quick to adopt full electric vehicle production like the way the United States is aiming to do. Electric vehicles cost much more compared to traditional vehicles, and many countries lack the resources for production. Despite their caution, Toyota still plans on pouring almost $70 billion into the development of electric vehicles. 

Toyota plans on having 70 electric models by 2025, and by 2030, the automaker forecasts to be selling about 3.5 million all-electric vehicle sales per year. That number makes up about one-third of the automaker’s yearly sales. The company’s electric vehicle plan still doesn’t impress the environmental groups, who have ranked Toyota at the very bottom of their decarbonization list of automakers.