EVs, hybrid cars together will help in tackling emissions: Toyota
Along with electric vehicles, hybrid cars will also play a major role in decarbonising global transportation, particularly in countries outside Europe and the United States, said Toyota Motor Corp's vice chairman Shigeru Hayakawa. He added that EVs are a good option for high-income countries with developed charging infrastructure and the ability to make and charge batteries with electricity derived from renewable sources.
Hayakawa explained that the challenge is to reduce emissions in places such as Southeast Asia and Africa and given the affordability of people here and the current infrastructure, the question lies if these markets are ready to adopt EVs. “I don’t know, but it will be difficult for the next 5, 10, 20 years," he added. Hayakawa informed that in Japan, where the energy mix is heavily dependent on fossil fuels, hybrids and plug-in hybrids could actually be the better choice from an environmental standpoint. He also added that battery-electric, plug-in hybrids and regular hybrids are all necessary, however, the company will decide the best option based on the market.
Automakers such as Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Volvo and GM agreed to phase out internal-combustion engines by 2040, Toyota remains strong on the point that conventional cars will continue to play a lasting role in global auto markets.
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However, the automaker's stance has prompted some groups to criticise the company for not doing enough to curb emissions. Hayakawa acknowledged that’s been a source of frustration for the company and its executives. “We’re being written about like we’re opposing EVs or obsessed with internal combustion engines, but that’s just not true," he added.
Toyota is currently aiming to introduce its bZ series EV models by 2025. The first EV of this series will be an electric crossover that will be launched in North America, Japan, China and Europe in mid-2022.
(With inputs from Bloomberg)