Toyota’s President Has a Take on Going All-Electric

Toyota’s president is among a “silent majority” in the auto industry with an opinion on transitioning to all-electric vehicles.

A national trend of the automobile industry and the public moving away from vehicles powered by internal combustion engines and switching to all-electric vehicles has been growing and was magnified in August when the California Air Resources Board banned the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles beginning in 2035.

Several other states are expected to soon ban gasoline powered vehicles in 2035 as well, including Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Elon Musk’s EV industry-leading company Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Free Report is well on its way to producing and delivering 1 million EVs annually for the first time by the end of this year, as it delivered 908,000 so far through Sept. 30 after delivering 343,000 in the third quarter.  Its competitors, including Ford  (F) – Get Free Report, General Motors  (GM) – Get Free Report, Hyundai, Volkswagen and Honda  (HMC) – Get Free Report, are busy trying to catch up to Tesla.

Toyota Motor Corp.

US Car Companies Phasing Out Gasoline Power

General Motors, No. 3 in U.S. overall car sales in 2021 according to Statista, and Volkswagen have already indicated they will follow California’s lead and will phase out internal combustion engines by 2035. Honda, No. 4 in 2021 overall car sales, has said it will phase out gasoline-powered vehicles by 2040, but Ford, No. 2 in 2021 overall car sales, has not committed to a date to stop selling gas-powered vehicles.

Pressure on the EV market also is coming from China, and not just from covid pandemic-related restrictions and factory closures. Chinese automakers Nio  (NIO) – Get Free Report, Li Auto  (LI) – Get Free Report and BYD all had solid numbers for November.

BYD reported that it sold 113,915 fully electric vehicles in November, which was a 147% increase year-over-year. It also sold 116,027 plug-in hybrids, which was a 164% year-over-year increase.

Nio on Dec. 1 reported it delivered 14,178 vehicles in November, a new record-high delivery amount, for an increase of 30.3% year-over-year.

Li Auto on Dec. 1 said that it delivered a record-high 15,034 EVs in November for an 11.5% year-over-year increase. Cumulative deliveries through November reached 236,101.

Japan-based Toyota  (TM) – Get Free Report, No. 1 in U.S. overall car sales in 2021, has been a leader in the auto industry in hybrid’s and plug-in hybrids for many years since it launched the Prius in the 1990s. However, the giant automaker has not been all-in on the all-electric vehicle market yet. By early October, Toyota had only sold 232 of its first 100% EV model bZ4X and doesn’t plan to ramp up production until 2025, Electrek reported.

Toyota President Uncertain About EVs

Toyota’s slow adoption of all-electric vehicles was reinforced by the company’s president, Akio Toyoda, in comments made during a visit to Thailand, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“People involved in the auto industry are largely a silent majority,” Toyoda said. “That silent majority is wondering whether EVs are really OK to have as a single option. But they think it’s the trend so they can’t speak out loudly.”

Toyota has not been quick to buy into the all-electric trend, as the company has focused on a lineup of gasoline-powered cars, hybrids and hydrogen-powered vehicles instead of concentrating on converting to all-electric models.

“Because the right answer is still unclear, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to just one option,” Mr. Toyoda said.

As of October, the all-electric vehicle market amounted to about 6.5% of the total new car market, automobile research firm J.D. Power said.

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