Toyota talks tough on EVs: "We'd rather buy credits than waste money"

Max McDee, 01 March 2024

Toyota CEO, Ted Ogawa, isn't holding back. The automaker known for its beloved Prius hybrid is taking a skeptical stance on electric vehicles. Ogawa claims EVs will only snag a measly 30% of the US market by 2030 and openly states Toyota would prefer to buy emission credits than "waste" money building electric cars.

This surprising statement flies in the face of the Biden Administration's aggressive push for EV adoption, and growing enthusiasm for battery-powered cars among consumers. Ogawa cites customer demand as his guiding principle, insisting the majority of people still want various forms of hybrid vehicles. But is that the full story?

Toyota talks tough on EVs: ''We'd rather buy credits than waste money''

Toyota is pouring nearly $14 billion into its North Carolina battery complex, though it's intended for both hybrids and a limited number of EV models. The company's substantial investments in hybrid technology over the years could mean they're betting on that technology to carry them for quite some time.

While Toyota still holds the title of the world's best-selling automaker (10.5 million vehicles in 2023), less than 1% of its sales last year were EVs. Could this reluctance signal a lack of confidence in their own ability to compete in the rapidly growing EV market? Or is it a strategic long game? Ogawa acknowledges they're playing catch-up on battery technology but insists Toyota isn't just about the cars – they’re building an entire EV ecosystem for customers.

This strategy, however, has environmental groups howling. Toyota's continued focus on hybrid cars has led to accusations of greenwashing, with critics slamming their attempts to confuse consumers with misleading "electrified" marketing lingo.

Toyota talks tough on EVs: ''We'd rather buy credits than waste money''

Price could be the real deal-breaker for Toyota. The CEO seems acutely worried about Chinese automakers like BYD undercutting their prices on the American market. Chinese cars could offer a more affordable alternative. Toyota admits that while their dealers insist they have better products, keeping MSRP competitive might prove increasingly difficult.

Toyota, once considered a hybrid innovator, is now under intense pressure to fully embrace a battery-powered future. While they might scoff at "wasting" money on EVs for now, this seemingly risky strategy could backfire as the global automotive landscape continues to shift. On one hand, it seems Toyota is being a shrewd pragmatist, but on the other, it is facing the possibility of becoming a short-sighted dinosaur.


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Reader comments

  • Reality...

You posted some very valid points and I'm sorry to see the replies in denial from the usual EV evangelists. Basically, EVs failed. The only reason people (other than the said ev evangelists ) bought them was the financial incentives provid...

  • Reality...

Wow... Posts an even longer reply, yet states that no one has the time to read (long posts)??? Oh the irony....

  • Reality...

Actually they very carefully observed how the American and European manufactures went all in , into EV manufacturing and failed to sell their EVs, how the EVs failed badly during any harsh environmental events, especially during the winter, took the...



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