Toyota Skids on EV Strategy

Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM) is standing by its electric vehicle strategy, including hybrids like the Prius, following criticism by some investors and environmentalist groups that the company is transitioning too slowly to EVs.

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, who has built a corporate strategy around the idea that EVs aren’t the only solution for automakers to reach carbon neutrality, said Thursday the company will move forward with plans to offer an array of so-called electrified vehicles for the foreseeable future – ranging from hybrids and plug-ins to all-electric and hydrogen electric vehicles.

Toyoda addressed the need to convince skeptics of the company’s strategy, including government officials focusing regulations on all-electric battery vehicles, saying the automaker will “present the hard facts” about consumer adoption and the entire environmental impact of producing EVs compared with hybrid electrified vehicles.

Since the Prius launched in 1997, Toyota says it has sold more than 20 million electrified vehicles worldwide. The company says those sales have avoided 160 million tons of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent to the impact of 5.5 million all-electric battery vehicles.

Toyoda’s remarks echoed comments he made to thousands of Toyota dealers and employees on Wednesday, saying the company will play “with all the cards in the deck” and offer a wide-array of vehicles for all customers.

Toyoda doubled down on company expectations that all-electric vehicle adoption will “take longer to become mainstream” than many think. He said it will be “difficult” to fulfill recent regulations that call for banning traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2035, like California and New York have said they will adopt.

TM shares stumbled $3.03, or 2.3%, to $130.73.