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Toyota’s Incoming CEO Vows To Accelerate EV Rollout

Toyota will accelerate the development of electric vehicles, the car-manufacturing giant’s incoming president and chief executive Koji Sato said on Monday, despite a report suggesting that EVs could find themselves in a targeted position along with their ICE vehicle peers on climate grounds.

In an announcement of new executive roles as of April 1, the world’s largest carmaker said that electrification would be one of three pillars for Toyota’s transformation into a “mobility company,” alongside intelligence and diversification.

Toyota has been criticized for the slow adoption of BEVs. The carmaker has focused more on hybrid vehicles in recent years.

“We have been preparing to create BEVs unique to Toyota and Lexus. Through these efforts, we have come to see the kind of BEVs we are aiming for,” Sato said at a news conference today.

“Now that the time is right, we will accelerate BEV development with a new approach.”

Toyota will aim to develop next-generation BEVs for the Lexus brand by 2026, with everything from the battery and platform to how a car is built optimized for BEVs, while expanding its current BEV lineup, the executive said.

Toyota’s new BEV push comes after a report by Anderson Economic Group showed last week that the drop in U.S. gasoline prices at the end of 2022 gave the cost advantage back to internal combustion engine-powered vehicles for the first time since the second quarter of 2021. During the fourth quarter of 2022, typical mid-priced ICE car drivers paid about $11.29 to fuel their vehicles for 100 miles of driving. That cost was around $0.31 cheaper than the amount paid by mid-priced EV drivers charging mostly at home, and over $3 less than the cost borne by comparable EV drivers charging commercially, the report found.

Another study, by the University of California and the Climate and Community Project, found last month that the “current dominant strategy for the automotive sector— replacing ICE vehicles with EVs without decreasing car ownership and use—is likely incompatible with keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.”

Demand for battery metals, especially lithium, will require significant increases in mining, and “Large-scale mining entails social and environmental harm, in many cases irreversibly damaging landscapes without the consent of affected communities,” the study says.

The road to meeting climate targets is to prioritize public and active transit while reducing car dependency, the authors of the study note.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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