Top Toyota Scientist Cautions Resource Shortfall Could Halt Push for Electric Vehicles for Decades

Top Toyota Scientist Cautions Resource Shortfall Could Halt Push for Electric Vehicles for Decades
Toyota's then president Akio Toyoda gestures at a briefing on EV (electric vehicle) battery strategies at the company’s showroom in Tokyo on Dec. 14, 2021. (Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images)

A top scientist with automotive manufacturer Toyota has said that a lack of resources will hamper the widespread uptake of electric vehicles (EVs).

Gill Pratt, chief executive of the Toyota Research Institute, told such a message to reporters in Hiroshima on Thursday, a day before the start of a G-7 summit in the Japanese city.

“Battery materials and renewable charging infrastructure will eventually be plentiful,” Pratt said.

“But it’s going to take decades for battery material mines, renewable power generation, transmission lines and seasonal energy-storage facilities to scale up.”

The most significant impact for EVs could be in countries that have a lot of renewable infrastructure, such as Norway he said, adding that in parts of the world where the use of coal is still prevalent, hybrids provide a better option in terms of CO2 emissions.

Under Criticism

Toyota has been under criticism from environmental groups, echoed by some investors over the slow progress in the push for embracing EVs, saying it has lagged behind Tesla Inc and others amid growing global demand.

This has been rebutted by Toyota, who say that EVs represent just one possible option, whereas gasoline-electric hybrids, including the Toyota Prius, offer a more feasible choice for drivers and certain markets.

Toyota has committed to selling 1.5 million battery-powered cars by 2026 and introducing 10 new fully electric models.

Reports surfaced in 2022 about Toyota’s former chief executive, Akio Toyoda, lobbying the Japanese government to express clear support for hybrid vehicles as much as EVs, at the risk of losing the auto industry’s support.

Toyoda, who is currently chairman of Toyota, was quoted as saying earlier this month, in the ongoing support of hybrid vehicles, that EVs are “one very important option” for achieving carbon neutrality, as is hydrogen.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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