A paradigm shift is not really something to take lightly. I think we are in the middle of one (maybe more than one) now regarding the automotive industry. EVs went from a sort of futuristic novelty to something that every automaker on earth is banging their heads against the wall to crack. While Teslas roam the streets freely and in large numbers, Toyota still thinks we Might have a ways to go before we see full EV Adoption.
This rush to kill gas-powered cars might be tougher than we thought
The latest trend has been all the major carmakers declaring that they will quit making gas-powered cars sometime in the coming years. So far, Volvo, Ford, and GM have made these claims to cut fossil fuel engine production sometime in the next 5-10 years and fully transition into all EV companies. While this is cool and all, a senior executive from Toyota has been expressing some skepticism about the whole thing, or at least the timeline.
Toyota is urging lawmakers to hold off on banning internal combustion engines
The skeevy part of all of this is that the automotive brands are now in a panic to get the U.S. Government to pass legislation that mandates the adoption of EVs, according to CarScoops. (Of course, the cool thing we should all be excited about is actually just a grift by the mega-corporations.)
Toyota is not following the trend. On the one hand, of course, it isn’t. Toyota hasn’t made a meaningful update in quite some time. On the other hand, maybe Toyota has a point.
Why can’t we make a full EV adoption yet?
At the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association conference, Toyota’s Chairman, Akio Toyoda, claimed that Japan’s power grid couldn’t handle everyone charging their vehicles at once in the summertime. He went on to say that the infrastructure upgraded needed to support full EV adoption would cost the island nation somewhere between $135 billion to $358 billion.
CarScoops referenced an interview with Reuters that these issues don’t only apply to Japan; Toyota’s North American team is singing the same tune. As this team prepares to take their argument to the Senate, Robert Wimmer, director of Energy and Environmental Research, said, “If we are to make dramatic progress in electrification, it will require overcoming tremendous challenges, including refueling infrastructure, battery availability, consumer acceptance, and affordability.”
How widespread is EV adoption in the US?
Director Wimmer continued by pointing out that EV sales only made up two percent of vehicle sales last year. We might think that we “see Tesla’s everywhere,” but the realities are, there still aren’t that many in the U.S., and that matters. For many Americans, most EVs exist behind a price wall that they cannot breach. These vehicles, as well as most new vehicles period, are prohibitively expensive. If we “outlaw” ICE vehicles too quickly, that will simply kill many Americans’ mode of transportation. This is a difficult and delicate shift that has to be done slowly and fairly.
Toyota is still down with EVs
Toyota isn’t fighting against full EV adoption at all; instead, the legendary automaker is simply urging the industry to allow it to happen more organically. Toyota is releasing two battery-powered EVs and another to the Lexus line this year. Unlike many other carmakers, Toyota is still devoted to building both EVs and fuel-powered cars and trucks.
Toyota may be slow to change across the board, but this hesitance seems to make sense. Without the infrastructure and customer buy-in, full EV adoption won’t work. We need to give it the time it deserves.