Toyota has long been a proponent of a multi-faceted approach to electrification, touting non-battery-electric technologies like hydrogen fuel cells, hybrids and combustion engines. This week, one executive from the company has highlighted that he doesn’t think battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will ever overtake gas vehicles as the most popular type of powertrain.
In a recent statement, former Toyota CEO and current chairman Akio Toyoda has doubled down once again in a statement on the automaker’s media site, saying that he thinks BEVs will never overtake gas cars, and predicting that they’ll only reach about a 30-percent market share (via Automotive News). As for why, Toyoda points to around a billion people in the world who live without access to electricity, for whom he says it doesn’t make sense to limit their choices and ability to travel with expensive BEVs.
“Customers — not regulations or politics — should make that decision,” he said. “Engines will surely remain.”
The statements come after Toyota has been criticized for being too slow to embrace zero-tailpipe-emission technology, and as the automaker has continued to emphasize a need for gas cars and hybrids.
Last week during the Tokyo Auto Salon conference, Toyoda stated that there was still a role for gas engines in achieving carbon neutrality, adding that BEVs weren’t the only way to reach climate goals. Toyota is also one of many companies pouring money into research on solid-state BEV batteries, though, like its hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, they haven’t hit the market and it’s not clear where the automaker is in developing this tech.
Still, Toyota has said that it expects to produce more hydrogen vehicles than solid-state BEVs by 2030, highlighting the company’s continued focus on hydrogen fuel cells as a potential path to carbon neutrality.