Akio Toyoda, chairman and former CEO of Toyota, expressed skepticism about the full adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), stating that EVs will never capture more than a third of the market.
During a company Q&A session on January 23, Toyoda emphasized that customer choice should drive EV adoption, not regulations or subsidies. “Customers—not regulations or politics—should make that decision,” he said.
Toyoda spotlights structural barriers to EV adoption
Toyoda highlighted the significant structural barriers hindering EV adoption globally, such as the lack of electricity in many regions.
He stressed that battery-powered EVs are not a viable transportation solution for everyone.
Toyoda predicted that even with advancements in battery technology, EVs would not exceed a 30 percent market share, with internal combustion engine vehicles remaining relevant.
Toyota chairman supports diverse auto market amid EV skepticism
Toyoda’s views echo the sentiments of skeptics like Stephen Moore, a senior economist at FreedomWorks, who predicted that EVs could be the “next big flop” in the American automotive market.
Toyoda called for a varied approach to carbon emissions reduction, including the use of gasoline, diesel, hybrids, and hydrogen cars.
He also voiced concern about financial institutions potentially withholding financing from companies continuing to produce fossil fuel-powered vehicles.
Biden administration’s EV push and opposition encountered
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has been advocating for the United States to lead in combating global warming, with several executive orders to boost EV sales.
Biden’s administration proposed strict vehicle standards to reduce emissions by 2032.
However, there has been significant opposition, including car dealership owners and retired military officials who see the rapid shift to EVs as a national security threat.
Biden admin faces challenges as EV sales fall short of expectations
Despite the Biden administration’s aggressive push for EVs, including a $7,500 subsidy, EV sales have not met expectations.
Less than 10 percent of new car sales in the past two years were electric.
Automakers like General Motors, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz have noticed waning demand for EVs, leading some to revise their electrification goals. Honda and GM even scrapped a joint $5 billion EV development plan.
Industry leaders acknowledge challenges in EV adoption and infrastructure
Ford CEO Jim Farley acknowledged the challenges with EVs, with Ford suspending significant investments in EV manufacturing.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also recognized the drawbacks of EVs, citing issues with finding reliable charging stations.
Among consumers, “range anxiety” is a significant concern, fearing the inability to find charging stations and being stranded.
Future of EV adoption and infrastructure needs
Studies by organizations like AAA and Ernst & Young highlight range anxiety and the lack of charging stations as critical barriers to EV adoption.
To support the envisioned EV transformation, an estimated 68.9 million chargers will be needed in the United States and Canada by 2035.
This situation underscores the complexity and challenges facing the shift towards electric vehicles in the automotive industry.
Victoria Mangelli graduated Summa Cum Laude with her BA in journalism from Siena College. She has worked for the Megyn Kelly Show, The Borgen Project, Saratoga Living, as well as several other publications. She enjoys traveling in her free time while freelancing for national publications.