To many EV sector analysts, Toyota is the perfect case study of how a legacy automaker should not handle the emergence of electric vehicles. However, the Japanese automaker is fighting back against the anti-EV label slapped on it, claiming its actions (and inactions?) have been due to being real.
Toyota’s venture into electric vehicles seems to have gotten on the right foot with the Toyota Prius, a hybrid that became so popular that it has been featured in many movies. However, Toyota has found itself in a position where it is trying to play catch-up in the EV race. Along the way, the automaker has come to be seen by many as anti-EV, with its first BEV failing to impress.
Sean Hanley, VP of Sales and Marketing for Toyota Australia, has sought to set the records straight. He maintained that Toyota has always been interested in electric vehicles and never anti-EV. Hanley explained to CarsGuide Australia that Toyota wants to play in the EV space despite pursuing an approach that involves EVs, hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells, and traditional internal combustion engines.
Hanlon said, “I’m excited because it sends a clear message that you know what? Toyota’s not anti-EV. We’re actually not. And we want to play in that market. We want to be part of it. We’re excited by it. We just don’t see it as the golden bullet or the single golden bullet towards carbon neutrality. The multi-pathway is still our strategy, but we’re excited to be coming into the BEV market. We know it plays a role.”
Toyota Australia used sales figures for 2023 to justify its stance that consumers determine what vehicle is released to the market instead of the carmakers. All three top-selling models were diesel-powered utes, with no equivalents in the EV sector.
Hanley continued, “The market determines reality, not car companies. It sends a powerful message that Australian consumers want the capability. The job of the manufacturers is to bring that capability with a reduced carbon footprint.
“It’s incumbent on manufacturers to bring a vehicle with capability that can deliver and that will be desirable. That’s our job. And you know what? We have a social and community responsibility to do that.
“And that’s why we talk about Fuel Emission Standards and multi pathway. Some interpret it as Toyota being anti-BEV. No, we’re not. We are just being real. We’re being honest with the market and the position.”
Toyota, however, has set its sights on expansion in Europe.