Does Toyota CEO change sign it is going all-in on EVs?

A management change at Toyota does not appear to have modified the automaker’s EV technique.

Akio Toyoda just lately introduced a step over to chairman after 14 years as CEO of the automaker based by his grandfather, with Koji Sato anointed as the subsequent Toyota CEO. However the automaker’s stance on EVs—that they are not the one answer to addressing local weather change—has remained constant all through the transition.

2023 Toyota Prius XLE

2023 Toyota Prius XLE

In a latest presentation on the World Financial Discussion board in Davos, Switzerland, Toyota chief scientist Gill Pratt argued that the all-EV methods introduced by some automakers will fall wanting reaching emissions-reduction targets, famous Automotive News.

Pratt’s argument, which you’ll watch here for the up to date type, or under as Toyota itself offered in December 2021, leans closely on the finite lithium provides for batteries, which can power a selection between spreading the accessible lithium out over many smaller hybrid battery packs or concentrating it in bigger packs for EVs.

Toyota concerned a lithium deficit will stall an aggressive EV shift

Toyota involved a lithium deficit will stall an aggressive EV shift

Pratt provided a mannequin hypothesizing a fleet of 100 internal-combustion automobiles with common emissions of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer traveled, and sufficient lithium to make 100 kwh of battery capability.

If the lithium is used for a single 100 kwh pack, the 100-vehicle fleet would nonetheless have 99 internal-combustion automobiles and only one EV, leading to common emissions of 248.5 g/km. If the identical quantity of lithium was used to make 1.1-kwh battery packs, it will yield 90 hybrids and an even bigger total emissions discount, to 205 g/km, Pratt argues within the presentation.

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid


That is consistent with earlier Toyota speaking factors, which have emphasised incorporating hybrids, in addition to fuel-cell powertrains and even hydrogen combustion engines, into an total emissions-reduction answer reasonably than relying solely on EVs.

Whereas a battery manufacturing facility could be in-built two or three years, Pratt argues, ramping up a brand new lithium mine can take greater than 15 years.

In a video launched in November 2021, Pratt argued that making an attempt a number of concepts for lowering emissions was probably the most pragmatic strategy, noting that technological predictions are often unreliable. He cited the hype round self-driving vehicles as a latest instance, and famous that Toyota took an analogous strategy in that case, researching each driver-assist and autonomous-driving ideas reasonably than going all-in on the latter.

“The stakes of the local weather disaster are too giant to get fallacious by specializing in too few potentialities,” he stated within the video, noting that Toyota is investing in EVs, however arguing that “various options will scale back extra carbon emissions sooner.“

But whereas Toyota is investing in EVs, outgoing CEO Toyoda has stated he sees the U.S. aim of fifty% EV gross sales by 2030 as “very troublesome,” and that 85% of Toyota automobiles will nonetheless have tailpipes by the tip of the last decade. Toyota’s pushback versus California and others states looking for extra EVs has additionally given the corporate some far much less favorable optics with environmentalists in recent times.

Toyota’s EV rollout has additionally taken on an unstable facet just lately. The automaker final fall reportedly paused a few of its EV growth as a part of a broad analysis. Extra just lately Toyota seems to have given the inexperienced gentle to a devoted EV platform for later within the decade, though this appears to have little to do with the chief change as Toyoda had tipped that it was coming.

Amid these studies and a change on the high, Toyota hasn’t just lately issued an replace on how any of this would possibly have an effect on Toyota’s automobile targets. However given the latest renewal of its argument, that is perhaps coming quickly.