In August 2022, the California Air Resources Board voted to ban the sale of new internal-combustion-powered light vehicles in the state starting in 2035. During a recent media roundtable, Toyota President Akio Toyoda commented on the rule and was uncertain about meeting the requirements.
“Realistically speaking, it seems rather difficult to really achieve them,” said Toyoda through an interpreter at the event, according to Reuters.
He went into a little more detail during a presentation to dealers. “But just like the fully autonomous cars that we were all supposed to be driving by now, BEVs are just going to take longer to become mainstream than the media would like us to believe,” Toyoda said.
Toyoda isn’t the first executive from the automaker to express this concern for the California mandate. “I don’t think the market is ready. I don’t think the infrastructure is ready. And even if you were ready to purchase one, and if you could afford it … they’re still too high,” said Jack Hollis, Toyota Vice President of Sales in North America.
Toyota is the bestselling automaker in California, according to Reuters. So, the company has good reason to have the electrified models to sell there by 2035.
The automaker is working on these products, too. Toyota is investing $5.6 billion into battery production in the United States and Japan. Of that money, around $2.5 billion is for Toyota Battery Manufacturing in North Carolina. The first of these packs should arrive between 2024 and 2026.
The bZ4X is the first of Toyota’s new family of EVs. The company had to stop deliveries just two months after launch because of an issue where the wheel hub bolts could loosen potentially causing a wheel to fall off. It recently fixed that problem, allowing sales to start again.
China gets the bZ3 sedan, and there’s no indication of it coming to the US at this time. The bZ5 will come later as a larger four-door. A hybrid vehicle with a solid-state battery will join the range in 2025. Toyota and Stellantis will also launch an electric commercial van.
California might just be the starting point for state governments limiting ICE sales. New York Governor Kathy Hochul is pushing for a similar ban there.
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