AkioToyoda he doesn't want to let go: after having defined electric cars as "overvalued" (effectively handing over a global giant like his to a rearguard in the electric transition), he is now taking a partial step forward. Toyota CEO has proposed an 'innovative' idea during the recent Tokyo Auto Show: instead of buying electric cars, how about replacing only the engine, switching to the battery (or to a hydrogen cell)?
Basically, to speed up the fight against climate change, the proposal is to electrify vehicles on the road, for a less traumatic replacement. Do you say that makes sense? At least on paper it could. But, though.
Akio Toyoda: converting a world on wheels
The core of the Toyota CEO's intervention is that by replacing traditional powertrains with components for electric power or fuel cells, significant advantages could be obtained for the reduction of CO2 emissions.
However, these claims have raised mixed opinions among industry experts. Some interpreted them as a demonstration of the company's willingness to explore different options to achieve the zero emissions goal. Others noted that it could indicate a lack of commitment from Toyota towards full electric adoption.
I am convinced of this second hypothesis, and instinctively I don't like it. I don't like it, because it's as if Toyota were betting on the failure of the energy transition timetable, applying itself as the parent company of a limbo in which things are struggling to materialize. I repeat, for me it's a rearguard.
Is Toyota in danger of losing the electric train?
Despite the recent ambitious plan to electrify its vehicle range (with the aim of launching 16 zero-emission models in the coming years), this ambivalent position still leaves doubts. Sure, if we were in 2025, just 10 years old by the EU ban on the sale of petrol cars, the games would already be done. We have authentic lions like BMW and Volkswagen, not counting the ubiquitous Tesla and the emerging Ford. Finding ourselves at the beginning of 2023, something can still be done, but someone takes the microphone away from the good Akio Toyoda.