The CEO of Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has warned that the “silent majority” in the auto industry doesn’t believe that electric vehicles (EVs) are the future.
Toyota Motor chief Akio Toyoda revealed this week that he remains skeptical that EVs can replace traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles as a “single option.”
While speaking to reporters during a visit to Thailand, Toyoda warned that most people in the auto industry agree with him.
“People involved in the auto industry are largely a silent majority,” Toyoda said.
“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.”
“Because the right answer is still unclear, we shouldn’t limit ourselves to just one option,” he added.
The remarks come as supply chain issues that were sparked by the pandemic have continued to make it difficult for manufacturers to get the raw materials needed to make new cars.
The issues have especially impacted the production of electric vehicles.
The Wall Street Journal reported that some of Toyota’s rivals have jumped fully on board with electric vehicles, setting future dates at which point their companies would only produce electric vehicles.
However, Toyota has diversified its future product offerings and is focused on making traditional gas cars, hybrids, and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Earlier this year, Jack Hollis, Executive Vice President of Sales at Toyota Motor North America, said that the company does not believe that the demand for electric vehicles is as high as people think it is.
“I don’t think the market is ready. I don’t think the infrastructure is ready,” he said.
“And even if you were ready to purchase one, and if you could afford it … (the price is) still too high …
“It took 25 years to get to less than 10% (market share) for hybrid …
“The consumer isn’t demanding (EVs) at that level.
“The consumer is not screaming, ‘30% or 40% by tomorrow.’”
With looming negative economic conditions in the U.S. on the horizon, combined with lowered gas prices, increasing interest rates, and high inflation rates, the market for electric vehicles could take even longer to expand.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has also warned that the transition away from oil and gas is not as easy as people think.
He argues that society would be devastated overnight if it tried to stop using fossil fuels.
“At this time, we actually need more oil and gas, not less,” Musk said.
“Realistically I think we need to use oil and gas in the short term because, otherwise, civilization will crumble.
“One of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to sustainable energy and to a sustainable economy.
“That will take some decades to complete.”