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Toyota laments emerging “anti-EV” moniker: “We are just being real”

Credit: Toyota North America

Toyota has become a far different company than the carmaker that hired Tesla to supply batteries for its all-electric RAV4 in 2012. Over the past years, Toyota has shared its doubts about a full transition to all-electric vehicles. The company has also been accused of lobbying against pro-EV legislation. Toyota Australia’s VP of Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley, however, has argued that the Japanese automaker is not an anti-electric vehicle at all. 

Toyota has maintained that it is following a multi-pathway strategy that involves releasing battery electric vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles alongside conventional combustion-powered cars. This is despite other automakers fully committing to an all-electric future. In a comment to CarsGuide Australia, Hanley noted that Toyota wants to be part of the EV transition. 

“I’m excited because it sends a clear message that you know what? Toyota’s not anti-EV. We’re actually not. And we want to play in that market. We want to be part of it. We’re excited by it. We just don’t see it as the golden bullet or the single golden bullet towards carbon neutrality. The multi-pathway is still our strategy, but we’re excited to be coming into the BEV market. We know it plays a role,” the executive said. 

Toyota Australia has argued that until a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or battery electric car could provide the capability of a diesel-powered ute or 4WD, the company has a responsibility to supply the market with vehicles that correspond to consumer demand. Toyota also pointed to its 2023 sales results in Australia, which showed that the top three vehicles from the company are all diesel-powered utes with a combined 155,000 sales. 

“The market determines reality, not car companies. It sends a powerful message that Australian consumers want the capability. The job of the manufacturers is to bring that capability with a reduced carbon footprint. It’s incumbent on manufacturers to bring a vehicle with capability that can deliver and that will be desirable. That’s our job. 

“And you know what? We have a social and community responsibility to do that. And that’s why we talk about Fuel Emission Standards and multi pathway. Some interpret it as Toyota being anti-BEV. No, we’re not. We are just being real. We’re being honest with the market and the position,” Hanley noted. 

The Toyota executive’s comments about the market determining reality are quite interesting. After all, the Tesla Model Y, a premium all-electric crossover, became the world’s best-selling car by volume in 2023. 

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Toyota laments emerging “anti-EV” moniker: “We are just being real”
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