To outside observers, it would seem that Toyota is running late to the EV party, but its tardiness isn’t a misstep. The Japanese automaker just this year announced it’d introduce two battery-electric vehicles, which is in stark contrast to other automakers that have laid out ambitious plans to electrify their entire lineups. That type of change won’t be coming to Toyota anytime soon as the company isn’t ready to focus only on electric cars.
Toyota’s reluctance to focus solely on EVs isn’t only about the uncertainty in the nascent market as there are environmental concerns, too. According to Automotive News, which was privy to the annual shareholder meeting where Toyota discussed its hesitancy to go all-in on EVs, Toyota is looking at the “whole lifecycle” of a vehicle in regards to reducing carbon emissions as there are some studies that indicate producing EVs and their batteries release more emissions than those from tailpipes.
Gallery: Toyota bZ4X North American Debut
However, a more significant driver in determining what Toyota does is the consumer. Toyota Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda said, “In the end what matters is what customers choose.” In the US, EVs account for less than two percent of the total automotive market. That’s a small slice of pie for automakers to be fighting over. Toyota’s lineup will contain a variety of powertrain options for the next 30 years, offering petrol, hybrid, fuel-cell vehicles, and electric vehicles as the propulsion options compete for superiority to leave the best ones standing.
Toyota’s aversion to EVs doesn’t mean it’s not investing in the tech. The company’s first electric vehicle, the strangely named bZ4x, will debut in production form later this year before going on sale in 2022. The bZ4x will be the first in a family of seven electric vehicles that the company plans to offer in the US by 2025, with 15 EVs available globally by the same year. Toyota isn’t putting all its eggs in the electrification basket, but it’s not shying away from putting in a concerted effort, either.