Toyota chief cites “silent majority” as argument against an EV-only future

Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Dülmen, Auto Bertels, Toyota GR Supra -- 2021 -- 9563” / CC BY-SA 4.0

The transition to the electric vehicle age appears to be all but certain with the success of Tesla, but veteran automaker Toyota is still not fully convinced that EVs are the only way forward. In recent comments, Toyota President Akio Toyoda stated that he is part of the automotive industry’s “silent majority” who have doubts about the exclusive pursuit of electric vehicles. 

Numerous automakers are currently investing heavily in fully electric cars, which has been supported by strong demand for the limited number of EVs that are currently available in the market. However, several challenges have emerged for the emerging electric vehicle sector, such as securing parts and raw materials for EV batteries. The strong demand for electric cars has also resulted in EV prices rising this year. 

During a visit to Thailand, the Toyota President seemingly lamented the industry’s focus on an EV-only future. Toyoda noted that people in the auto industry are actually a “silent majority,” and they are wondering if all-electric cars are really the only way forward. Since electric cars are a trend now, however, Toyoda noted that the “silent majority” couldn’t really speak out. 

“People involved in the auto industry are largely a silent majority. 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,” Toyoda said

While fellow veteran automakers like General Motors (GM) and Honda have set targets for when their vehicle lineups will consist exclusively of electric cars, Toyota has instead chosen to pursue a diverse range of vehicles that include hydrogen-powered cars and hybrids. Toyota has not committed to a timeline for transitioning to an all-electric lineup.  

The Toyota President’s skepticism towards electric vehicles has raised concerns among investors and consumers that the veteran automaker may be lagging in the development of EVs. In major markets such as the US, Toyota has been notably slower than its competitors to introduce fully electric models.

Inasmuch as Toyoda is open about his reservations about all-electric cars, however, Toyota itself has expressed its intentions to take EVs seriously. In late 2021, the company noted that it was planning on spending up to $35 billion on its EV lineup. The efforts caught a speed bump of sorts as Toyota’s all-electric crossover, the bZ4X, ended up being involved in controversy following a recall on the vehicle’s wheels, which may fall off during operation

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Toyota chief cites “silent majority” as argument against an EV-only future
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