Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota, has made it clear that he doesn’t like electric cars. Toyoda said, “People involved in the auto industry are largely a silent majority,” according to Thai reporters.
“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.” He may be right. It wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of automotive executives disliked EVs.
The legacy automotive industry was slow to adopt EVs. They abandoned promising products that they should have realized they could make. Other cases showed that the products rolled off the assembly lines did not meet the minimum legal requirements.
They would prefer to continue making diesel and gasoline vehicles. If those are not possible, they will have at least an alternative to batteries. This is a growing problem in the industry as supply chains go through growing pains. Some might find Toyota’s electric intransigence strange.
This company was the first to market the mass-market hybrid electric powertrain. It debuted on the Prius and has since increased across its entire lineup.
It has accumulated decades of experience in electric motors, battery packs, and battery management systems. These are the key components of an EV-powered powertrain.
Hybrids may have appeared to be a breakthrough, but they weren’t a major shift in an industry that was used to tweaking its internal combustion engine to compensate for its shortcomings.
Hybridization included electric motors to help the car move and to assist at low speeds where fossil-fuel engines are less efficient. It did not eliminate the internal combustion engine.
Every legacy automaker has a staff of mechanical engineers. Many of these engineers are experts in extracting more from combustion engine technology.
Although they may be competent in designing electric powertrains, this is not their core competency. Switching to EVs would place electrical engineers in control.
Toyota’s embrace of hybrid technology is not a step towards an electric future but a way to extend the reign of the internal combustion motor.