According to Toyota Motor Corp’s top scientist, a shortage of resources makes battery electric vehicles (BEVs) an inadequate solution to combat climate change. Toyota has faced criticism for its slow adoption of BEVs compared to companies like Tesla. The automaker argues that BEVs are just one option and that gasoline-electric hybrids, such as their renowned Prius model, are a more practical choice for certain markets and drivers.
Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute, acknowledged that BEVs can contribute to reducing climate change, particularly in countries like Norway with extensive renewable infrastructure. However, in regions where coal is still used for power generation, hybrids are more effective in terms of CO2 emissions.
Pratt emphasized that while battery materials and renewable charging infrastructure will eventually become more abundant, the process of scaling up battery material mines, renewable power generation, transmission lines, and seasonal energy-storage facilities will take decades. Toyota aims to sell 1.5 million battery-powered cars by 2026 and introduce 10 new fully electric models. The company argues that achieving carbon neutrality will require the utilization of hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles, in addition to BEVs.
It was reported last year that Toyota’s former CEO, Akio Toyoda, lobbied the Japanese government to support hybrid vehicles as much as BEVs to ensure the continued backing of the auto industry. Toyoda, who currently serves as Toyota’s chairman, stated that BEVs are “one very important option” for achieving carbon neutrality, alongside hydrogen-powered vehicles.
In summary, Toyota’s top scientist emphasizes that due to resource limitations, BEVs alone cannot be the sole solution for reducing emissions and combatting climate change. The company believes in the importance of hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles, alongside BEVs, to achieve carbon neutrality.
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