Toyota boss says ‘silent majority’ skeptical about electric car push only: ‘We shouldn’t limit ourselves’

The Toyota chief questions whether pressuring the auto industry to phase out gas-powered cars and switch to electricity exclusively is the right decision.

Akio Toyoda made the remarks to reporters in Thailand after the automaker said around this time last year that it would produce 3.5 million electric vehicles annually by 2030, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The people involved in the auto industry are very much a silent majority,” Toyoda said. “That silent majority wonders if it’s really a good idea to have electric vehicles as one option. But they think it’s the trend so they can’t speak out loud.”

Toyoda has reportedly been trying to make this point to governments and industry stakeholders.

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President of Toyota Motor Corporation Akio Toyoda. (YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images/Getty Images)

“Because the correct answer is still not clear, we should not limit ourselves to just one option,” he added.

Toyota’s rivals, including General Motors and Honda Motor Company, have set dates for when their lineups will go all-electric. However, Toyota has invested in a range of models that includes hydrogen-powered cars and gas/electric hybrids, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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GM is set to quickly increase its production of electric vehicles in North America from about 50,000 this year to 1 million in 2025, but it hasn’t stopped its internal combustion engine cars and trucks just yet.

Electric Toyota

The 2023 Toyota bZ4X all-electric SUV is shown during the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, on November 17, 2021. (Reuters / Mike Blake)

“The era of ICE is not over,” GM President Mark Reuss told FOX Business in an exclusive interview in November ahead of the company’s Investor’s Day presentation in New York City.

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“We’re not going to give up our internal combustion engine parts,” said Royce.

As of October, electric vehicles accounted for just 6.5% of the total new car market, the paper says, citing data from JD Power.

Toyota Prius 2023 model

People look at the newly redesigned 2023 Prius Hybrid that Japanese automaker Toyota revealed ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles on November 16, 2022. (Reuters/Mike Blake/Reuters Photo)

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The electric car industry requires new battery and production plants to be built, according to the Wall Street Journal, while consumers have also expressed concerns including price and availability of charging stations.

“Coastal areas, east and west coast, are electrifying much faster than inland regions,” Volvo Cars CEO Jim Rowan told the paper, noting that adoption of electric vehicles in the United States can vary depending on the geographic location.

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