Toyota Chairman Akio Toyoda has declared that electric vehicles (EVs) will never dominate the car market.
Battery-powered EVs will only ever capture 30% of the global market share, Toyoda has predicted.
The comments come as auto industry experts are raising concerns about consumers’ willingness to align with the green agenda’s “Net Zero” goals.
Toyoda said that traditional fuel-burning cars, as well as hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, would make up the rest of the market.
The grandson of the founder of Toyota, the world’s largest car manufacturer, said shifting toward EVs is not the answer when a billion people in the world are living without electricity.
Toyoda told a business event this month that limiting consumer choices and ability to travel by making expensive cars is not the answer.
“Customers — not regulations or politics — should make that decision,” he said.
He added: “Engines will surely remain.”
The comments from the auop giant boss are the latest sign that car companies are backing away from the troubled technology.
Speaking to employees in a question and answer session, Toyoda insisted it was right that the carmaker was focusing on alternative technologies to EVs, but admitted it was hard to “fight alone.”
The chairman also pointed to Toyota’s recent announcement that it was working on a new combustion engine.
However, he speculated that banks may soon stop lending money to companies that continue to build fossil-fuel-powered engines.
Touted for years by Toyoda, the “multi-pathway approach” argues that customers should be able to pick whatever car type fits their needs.
He highlighted that the shift to EVs will not be as rapid as some have predicted.
In recent weeks, that strategy has been partially vindicated after Toyota revealed it had produced a record 9.2m vehicles in 2023 with one month of the year still to go.
The annual total is expected to exceed 10m.
At the same time, sales for January to November increased 7pc to 10.2m vehicles.
Koji Sato, the car maker’s CEO, last year promised Toyota would sell 1.5m battery EVs a year by 2026, and 3.5m by 2030.
Tesla, the world’s biggest EV producer on an annual basis, reported 1.8m deliveries last year.
Toyoda’s remarks come after electric car sales in both the US, UK, and Europe slowed toward the end of 2023.
In the UK, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said the country’s market share of electric cars went into reverse last year as consumers balked at high prices and a lack of charge points.
However, automakers have been facing mounting pressure from governments to increase production of unpopular EVs.
Carmakers have been threatened with fines if they fail to hit the green agenda targets.
Toyota lobbied against the implementation of such policies.
The company has told governments it is “extremely concerned” by the green agenda targets, with which it would be unable to comply.
The “Net Zero” targets hurt carmakers “both financially and in terms of its brand reputation,” Toyota warned, according to documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws by the Fast Charge newsletter.
Instead, Toyota lobbied for delays to the plans and called for hybrids to be partly eligible.