Akio Toyoda Says Slowing EV Demand Proves He Was Right All Along

“People are finally seeing reality,” the former CEO said about the dangers of an all-in approach to EVs.

byNico DeMattia|
Side profile view of Toyota FT-Se concept at 2023 Japan Mobility Show.
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images


Toyota has been one of the slower adopters of electric vehicles, as it's watched the rest of the industry scramble to invest billions of dollars in them. Instead of jumping right into EVs, the automaker's remained equally invested in hybrid and even hydrogen technologies, as it feels there are multiple ways to reduce overall emissions. And with EV sales slowing in 2023, demand shrinking, and interest rates potentially growing, other automakers are starting to understand what Toyota has been saying for years.

"There are many ways to climb the mountain that is achieving carbon neutrality," former Toyota CEO, now chairman Akio Toyoda recently told reporters at the Japan Mobility Show, as quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

Electric cars are already more expensive than their gasoline or hybrid counterparts. Combine higher costs with range and charging obstacles, all in the face of a looming global recession, and customers have lost some interest in pure electric vehicles.


"EV demand next year could be lower than expectations," said Lee Chang-sil, chief financial officer of battery supplier LG Energy Solutions, via Reuters.

GM, who's invested heavily in its Ultium electric vehicle platform, recently dropped its 400,000 EV sales target by 2024, in search of developing more profitable electric cars. "We're taking immediate steps to enhance the profitability of our EV portfolio and adjust to slowing near-term growth," GM CEO Mary Barra, recently said.

GM and Honda also recently decided to go their separate ways on affordable EVs, after announcing a development partnership more than a year ago.


Meanwhile, Toyota has never wavered from its confidence in hybrids, both plug-in and otherwise. Jack Hollis, the company's head of North American sales, recently noted demand for the brand's hybrids are "smoking hot." However, that doesn't mean Toyota is abandoning EV investment entirely. It unveiled two EVs concepts at the Japan Mobility Show this week, including a spiritual successor to the MR2, and it recently debuted concepts for an electric Land Cruiser and compact electric pickup. So Toyota is still very much invested in electric cars; it just also believes EVs are part of the answer for a carbon-neutral future. For now, the market appears to be bearing that out.

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