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Toyota boss pumps brakes on shifting to EVs

The boss of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, is trying to pump the brakes on the shift to electric vehicles. During a recent visit to Thailand, Toyota warned that many insiders, a “silent majority,” are quietly wondering if it is a smart move for car makers to retool exclusively for electric cars.

Toyoda said…

“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.”

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Toyoda went on to say that the idea that everyone could easily dump gas-powered vehicles for electric ones, is simply not as feasible as activists and governments seem to imagine.

Toyota is one of the few larger manufacturers that isn’t making proclamations about the end of gas-powered cars and setting dates to stop making the internal combustion engine. Toyota has stood out by its slow approach to shifting to electric vehicles but has promised to release 30 EVs by 2030 and invest US$17.6 billion (600 billion baht) in battery technology.

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Toyota may be right. EVs could easily be a thing of the past by 2030. Mercedes-Benz earlier this year announced a commitment to producing only electric vehicles by 2030 “as market forces allow.”

US President Joe Biden, the radical environmental lobby and government agencies across the US, are pushing for the switch to electric vehicles, but it seems industry insiders are not so sure.

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Electric vehicles comprise only about 6.5% of the U.S. new car market. Hyundai has the Electrified Genesis GV70. Earlier this year, Honda announced plans to spend roughly US$40 billion (1.4 trillion baht) on electric models and also launch 30 new electric vehicle models by 2030.

Toyota’s shift to EVs comes as massive government subsidies for EVs are skewing the market, and forcing car makers to move towards dumping ICE power, whether it is the right move or not.

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