The CEO of Toyota Motor Corp. Akio Toyoda is publicly questioning whether the auto industry should transition as quickly to electric vehicles.
Toyoda said during a recent visit to Thailand that a “silent majority” of auto executives question whether EVs should be a single option.
“But they think it’s the trend so they can’t speak out loudly,” Toyoda said.
The comments come from the head of the world’s largest auto company which has resisted moves by other automakers to eventually switch to all-EV. And he’s not alone.
As the Journal pointed out, Mazda Corp. executives once publicly worried that EV batteries were too big and expensive to replace gas-powered models. They also said that whether EVs are a cleaner mode of transportation depends on where the electricity is produced.
Those two companies comprise the $2.3 billion joint manufacturing factory in Huntsville, Ala.
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Toyota, unlike other motor companies, has taken a go-slow approach on totally electric vehicles, in spite of its pioneering work with hybrids. Late in 2021, the company promised to release 30 electric vehicles by 2030 and invest $17.6 billion in electric battery technology.
Mazda has announced plans to have 25% of its global product line be fully electric by 2030, with all models having some form of electrification.
As of October, electric vehicles comprised about 6.5% of the total U.S. new-car market and rising, according to J.D. Power. But much of those gains is coming in states like California, according to the Journal.
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Alabama’s other auto manufacturers have their own timelines toward electrification.
Mercedes-Benz earlier this year announced a commitment to produce only electric vehicles by 2030 — as market forces allow. That’s after pumping about $1 billion into its Alabama operations to manufacture electric SUVs.
Hyundai has the Electrified Genesis GV70 and a $300 million investment in Alabama. Honda earlier this year announced plans to spend roughly $39.8 billion globally on electric models, launch 30 new electric vehicle models by 2030, and develop a lighter battery.