Jack Hollis, Toyota Motor North America’s executive vice president of sales, recently shared some of his thoughts about the United States’ efforts to push the adoption of electric vehicles. The executive’s stance is quite simple: the US’ 50% electric vehicle goal for 2030 is a long shot due to a lack of consumer demand.
Last year, the Biden administration announced a rather ambitious target. If the Biden administration’s goals are met, then 50% of the US’ new vehicle sales will be battery-electric by 2030. Numerous carmakers have responded appropriately to the targets, with some also noting that they could hit 40% to 50% BEV sales by the end of the decade.
Hollis, however, does not believe that these goals are realistic. In a recent webinar, the Toyota exec noted that the mass adoption of all-electric cars would likely not develop as fast as EV advocates suggest. This, according to Hollis, is because consumer demand is just not sufficient. BEVs also cost too much, and the infrastructure is not yet there.
“I don’t think the market is ready. I don’t think the infrastructure is ready. And even if you were ready to purchase one, and if you could afford it … they’re still too high,” Hollis said.
As noted in a Forbes report, battery electric vehicles commanded 5.2% of the new vehicle market in the United States in the first half of the year, a notable rise from last year’s 2.5%. About 66.1% of BEV sales in the United States were from Texas-based electric car maker Tesla.
Hollis does not buy the hype around the rising popularity of EVs and their growing market share. According to the executive, Toyota introduced hybrids over 20 years ago, but even with popular cars like the Prius, the market share of hybrids in the United States is still less than 10%.
And hybrids, Hollis noted, are now familiar to customers. They’re also affordable, and they do not cause range anxiety. Hybrids also do not rely as heavily on raw battery materials like lithium, some of which come from foreign countries with complicated foreign relations. “It took 25 years to get to less than 10% (market share) for hybrids — which is affordable, which is done with resources that are available,” Hollis said.
“The consumer isn’t demanding it at that level. The consumer is not screaming, ‘30% or 40% by tomorrow.’ And when you start pushing consumers into things they’re not ready for, some other consequence will occur,” Hollis said.
It should be noted that despite Hollis’ rhetoric, Toyota is jumping on the BEV trend, though its bZ4x crossover has been beset by problems. The vehicle has been recalled because its wheels may fall off, and recent communication to owners revealed that Toyota had given bZ4x customers the option to have their vehicles repurchased.
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