Toyota Calls On Science To Tell EV-Only Extremists That They’re Wrong

Toyota is known mostly for its hybrid-powered vehicles, with the Prius first coming into mind, but with all the other manufacturers racing towards an EV-only future, the Japanese brand seems to be lagging in terms of a wider-scale adoption on the electric-only front.

In fact, it’s reportedly one of the reasons why its CEO, Akio Toyoda, who’s the grandson of the firm’s founder, will be stepping down in April. But even as Toyota moves to develop its first dedicated EV platform, it still won’t make the shift to an all-electric lineup and now it’s using science to tell EV-only extremists that they’re wrong.

With some solid facts and figures at hand, the carmaker’s Chief Scientist Gill Pratt says that the best approach for a sustainable future is a multipronged one, blending EVs with hybrids and other green technologies, and not a full-on commitment to battery-powered cars only.

Automotive News writes that this pitch was first made at the World Economic Forum in Davos and more recently, Pratt repeated the message from Tokyo, in a bid to offer some context to Toyota’s long-term strategy.

“Time will show that our point of view is actually the correct one,” Pratt said in Tokyo. “One way or the other, there will be a diversity of powertrains used throughout the world.”

This statement comes as several car brands pledged to go full-electric at some point in the future, with Honda, Acura, Cadillac, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and more saying they’ll do the best they can to become carbon neutral in this century.

By contrast, Toyota wants to sell around 5.5 million internal combustion-engined and plug-in hybrid cars per year from 2030, as well as 3.5 million EVs, including 1 million Lexus-branded cars.

Gallery: 2023 Toyota bZ4X: Review

So Toyota isn’t anti-EV, but it believes in a diversified approach and it’s predicting a global shortage of lithium, which is the most important material used in today’s lithium-ion batteries found in pure EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids.

Gill Pratt and his team concluded that to lower carbon emissions as much as possible, it makes more sense to spread the limited supply of lithium among as many cars as possible, electrifying as many cars as possible.

He hypothesized a fleet of 100 internal combustion engine cars with average emissions of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer traveled. Now, assuming a limited supply of lithium, there’s only enough of it to make 100 kilowatt-hours of batteries. Toyota’s Chief Scientist says that if it were used for a single, big battery, the average emissions of the whole fleet would drop by just 1.5 g/km.

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