Toyota Motor Corp. recently saw a major shift in its hierarchy, with the former CEO Akio Toyoda stepping down and anointing Koji Sato, former head of Lexus and Gazoo Racing, as his successor.
Under Sato’s leadership, Toyota is primed to accelerate its 100% carbon-neutral vehicle development efforts. Although, electric vehicles (EVs) are still not a part of that plan.
While talking to a popular Malaysian news outlet WapCar, Sato revealed that the company aims to begin mass-producing Hydrogen Combustion and Fuel Cell Vehicles (HICEVs and HFCEVs) in 2023.
Sato foresaw that the acceptance of Hydrogen-powered cars will rise in the coming days with the expansion of infrastructure. He added:
If we take an example of climbing a mountain, we’d say we have climbed about 50-60% of it already. There’s still room for improvement, in terms of performance for production models.
Sato says that Toyota must decide its ultimate direction for the future of mobility now. He added that the company aims to offer an alternative to all-electric power, as everyone is focused on EVs these days. Sato continued:
We think that it is the right time for us to enter the market with hydrogen, so that it could become a viable alternative in the future.
Toyota’s Justification for Not Switching to EVs
Gill Pratt, Toyota’s chief scientist, told Automotive News a few months ago that a diverse approach is best for a sustainable future. Rather than focusing solely on battery-powered vehicles, it should incorporate hybrids and other environmentally friendly technologies.
He recently presented the same concept in Tokyo to provide context for Toyota’s long-term strategy. Pratt elaborated:
Time will show that our point of view is actually the correct one. One way or the other, there will be a diversity of powertrains used throughout the world.
Considering the limited amount of lithium in the globe, Pratt and his team reasoned that electrifying a specific number of cars is the most practical way to minimize carbon emissions.
Pratt also questioned the objectives of competing automakers, labeling their plans as “happy talk” and pointed out the use of the phrase “if conditions permit” in their mission statements.