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The Unexpected Reason Behind Toyota's Stall in Developing EVs

With the slow development of Toyota’s EV sector, the real reason has surfaced as to why that is.


Recently news had come out that GM and the American market had sold more cars than Toyota last year. Now experts say that most of those sales are due to the rapid production and development of U.S domestic EVs. So far, Toyota only has one mass produced EV. The 2023 Toyota bZ4X has had very mixed reviews. Critics have said there are better EV SUVs out there for a lower price.

Personally, I think that the bZ4X was a complete waste of Toyota’s resources and that they should’ve done what most U.S companies did in the 80’s which was pair up with other manufacturers and essentially rebrand their mini trucks. In fact, Toyota was one of those “older sisters” in that helped American auto makers develop their own mini truck. While automakers like Ford and GM are actively pursuing reliable and efficient EV’s, Toyota and Honda seem to be pretty reluctant. For the sake of purpose, we will only focus on Toyota’s reason and theory.

Here’s The Real Reason Why Toyota Is So Behind The EV Game

However recently, an article by Jalopnik’s Collin Woodard explained the real reason why Toyota is so reluctant to switch over to EV development. Granted, Toyota recently patented 6 new EV models and their plan to go Beyond Zero seems to be a legit claim. Of course, they also stated that their plan to go full hybrid and plug-in hybrid within the next several years. So far their main reason is because electric vehicles do not work well in the cold weather. Let’s say they stopped selling the Toyota Hilux as a gas car and switched it to EV. How do you think the Siberian farmer would feel after his brand new EV Hilux wont start or drains the battery after 20 miles?

We saw this happen a lot with a famous car youtuber having to sell his brand new Ford F-150 Lightning because his battery kept draining. This is why Toyota wants to really focus on bio fuels like Porsche or HEV, PHEV platforms.

According to the article, ‘Toyota president Akio Toyoda doesn’t like EVs. And even if you thought you knew how anti-EV Toyoda is, seeing paragraph after paragraph explaining it in detail still drives home the point. Hard.” Akio Toyoda inherited the family company after his father passed it onto him. While Mr. Toyoda doesn’t like EVs, He does like hybrids and plug in hybrids due to Toyota’s trusted and battle tested

I personally think Mr. Toyoda is right but it will take way more automakers, whether American or European, to come together and really stand against the EV scene to back the consumer mind.

What do you think? What is your stance of Japanese EV development? Let us know in the comments below.

Harutiun Hareyan is reporting Toyota news at Torque News. His automotive interests and vast experience test-riding new cars give his stories a sense of authenticity and unique insights. Follow Harutiun on Twitter at @HareyanHarutiun and on YouTube at Toyota Time for daily Toyota news.


jg (not verified)    January 23, 2023 - 1:26PM

Citing the source would be more appropriate than the current link, but neither states supporting evidence for many of the off-the-cuff opinions and poorly paraphrased sentences that are stated as facts in this article.

One fact not addressed supporting Toyota's commitment to gas engines is that they sell a huge number of vehicles to underdeveloped countries housing a good deal of our global population where gasoline is prevalent but electricity is scarce and car batteries power the one or two light bulbs they may be able to run from charging during the day. They are not going to leave those customers "in the dark" by "fully committing" to any one type of propulsion technology.

Toyota's future for years has been clearly stated as hydrogen-based to provide the greenest vision without the need to mine and refine chemicals needed for battery production, which uses vast amounts of fossil fuels, and they were continuously ridiculed for it. I find it amusing how many people are now reporting on how innovative the aviation sector is by working on hydrogen power as their grand new idea.

Mr. Toyoda is still touting hydrogen and has been taking his hydrogen-burning GR racers on demo-laps around global race tracks. This and the recent twin AE86 concepts showing a similar platform both touting and contrasting battery and hydrogen power as evidence of their future vision. I think in the coming years there will be more attention given to converting gas engines to hydrogen use, similar to the same trend with natural gas -- which worked great but never really took hold because of the ubiquitous nature of gasoline. Maybe someone will come up with home hydrogen generators capable of keeping up with household vehicle and home heating needs.

Gary D (not verified)    January 23, 2023 - 3:39PM

Akio Toyoda is 100% correct in his stance on EV's from a business perspective. Toyota is a business with many stakeholders. Toyoda-San has an enormous responsibility to these stakeholders, as well as loyal Toyota customers. EV's are the future, but not in every market. Many parts of the world do not have the electrical infrastructure to sustain or support EV-only vehicles. Toyota is playing the long game in its HEV, PHEV, FC and ICE products. I have owned 2 hybrids from Toyota, (The Camry Hybrid and Corolla Hybrid), which were great cars. They were a bit difficult in the snow but with Toyota bringing e-awd to their sedans, that will bring me back to them. EV's are the future but not until their prices come into parity with HEV's/PHEV's as a logical alternative. Right now, electric cars are just too expensive for the average consumer.