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Toyota says it doesn’t worry about Tesla’s lead, shuns all-electric and goes ‘electrified’ by 2025

Despite its early effort in electrification with the Prius and a partnership with Tesla, Toyota has famously been looking down on battery-electric vehicles in favor of hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.

Yet, the Japanese automaker says that all its models will be ‘electrified’ by 2025, but it’s being vague about what it means and it still doesn’t sound like it’s going to be all-electric.

The plan was first announced just over a year ago when Toyota said that it will have electric options throughout its entire lineup of cars by 2025.

But when asked to clarify the plan in an interview with CNBC today, Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America, wasn’t keen on committing to all-electric vehicles.

He said:

“Our approach is a portfolio approach. We don’t think one technology is absolutely the best solution for each customer. We are working on an entire portfolio of hybrids, which we have been selling since 1997, plug-in hybrids, and full battery-electric as well as our fuel cell vehicles.”

Those vehicles represented 9% of Toyota’s sales last year, but that was almost entirely hybrids.

They aim for those types of vehicles to represent 15% of their sales in 2020.

When asked about how Tesla is now surpassing them significantly when it comes to plug-in vehicles and if they waited too long on that front, the Toyota executive disagreed:

“I’d argue to the contrary. When you are looking at full electric, whether it’s Tesla or others on the market, they represented last year less than one percent of the industry and as you know, the industry had a fabulous year last year. Our strategy is to keep utilizing our hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and eventually bring in battery-electric vehicles as the market grows.”

Carter added that they forecast only about 4-6% of the market to be all-electric during the second half of next decade, which is significantly lower than most estimates.

Nonetheless, Toyota plans to release a few all-electric vehicles of its own in order to capture some of that 4-6% of the market.

Here’s the interview:

Electrek’s Take

This is so dumb to me. I don’t understand this whole “waiting for the market to mature” thing.

They are waiting for the demand for all-electric vehicles to increase, but that’s not how it works.

The demand for EVs is there already. You just need the right all-electric vehicles to capitalize on it.

If the EV market is small right now, it’s not because people don’t want to buy EVs, it’s because the industry is not manufacturing enough attractive all-electric vehicles at a decent price.

Once they have more interesting all-electric options, which are coming to market pretty fast, things will change a lot faster than what Toyota is anticipating.

4 to 6 percent of the market between 2025 and 2030 is absolutely ridiculous.

Funny enough, Carter misspoke when talking about upcoming all-electric news from Toyota. He said it will come in “the early 1920s” when he meant it will come in 2019 and 2020.

Toyota might as well be stuck in the 1920s with that kind of vision for all-electric vehicles.

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