Toyota has released a new defense of its EV strategy, which some have criticized for being too slow or conservative.
Despite Toyota’s leadership in hybrid vehicle technology in the early 2000s, the company has not followed through with focusing on pure EVs, like many of its competitors have begun to. This strategy has attracted mixed responses, with some believing the EV strategy to be too slow and lagging behind the industry. Now, according to a new report from Jalopnik, Toyota has released a memo to its dealers defending its decision, arguing that a continuing focus on hybrid vehicles is better for the company and the environment.
The memo released by Toyota and subsequently published by Jalopnik focuses first on the hurdles of EV adoption, both for the manufacturer and its consumers. Then it proceeds to defend Toyota’s strategy of concentrating on mild-hybrid systems instead. The full memo is available below.
Toyota first lists three main hurdles to EV adoption for itself and its consumers. Most predominantly, Toyota argues that a lack of “critical minerals,” including lithium and nickel, as well as processed goods such as cathode and anode materials, will severely limit EV production in the coming years. Moreover, the Japanese automaker argues that lead times in its supply chain will mean these issues persist well into the future.
The second hurdle Toyota points to is a lack of public charging infrastructure, most notably, DC fast charging. Third and finally, Toyota argues that EVs remain prohibitively expensive for the majority of consumers.
After pointing out these potential roadblocks, Toyota argues that a production focus on mild-hybrid vehicles can better serve its customers and the environment, which it believes, in turn, will result in higher sales for itself. This, according to Toyota, stems from the “critical mineral” supply limitations. By prioritizing hybrid vehicles, Toyota believes it can produce far more cars using the same amount of scarce resources. Specifically, the automaker estimates for every EV it could produce, it could manufacture 90 hybrid vehicles, resulting in a more significant reduction in emissions in the aggregate.
With the continued prevalence of many Tesla and EV skeptics, notably on Wall Street, it is fair to say that Toyota isn’t without support in its belief in hybrid technology. However, with governments worldwide beginning to tighten regulations on gas-powered vehicles, it remains unclear if Toyota can continue its hybrid focus for long.
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