Toyota President Rains on Newsom's Parade, Delivers Bad News for Gas Car Ban

Two years ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a plan to begin eliminating gas-powered cars in the state. But the president of Toyota Motor Corporation said last week that following this plan will be “difficult” and he thinks the universal use of electric vehicles will take much longer than Newsom plans.

“Realistically speaking, it seems rather difficult to really achieve them,” President Akio Toyoda said Thursday, speaking through an interpreter, according to Reuters.

“But just like the fully autonomous cars that we were all supposed to be driving by now, BEVs [battery electric vehicles] are just going to take longer to become mainstream than the media would like us to believe,” Toyoda said Wednesday, Reuters reported.

Toyoda was speaking at a conference of his company’s car dealers in Las Vegas, according to Fox Business.

Even though Toyota has been pursuing plans to further develop its own BEVs, Toyoda thinks that Newsom’s plan to have “sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035,” is too ambitious.

Toyoda’s comments are particularly pertinent since California‘s Air Resources Board just met to make new rules regarding vehicles, Fox Business reported.

Newsom told California’s Air Resources Board to adopt new rules that will begin mandating that all new cars, SUVs and trucks be either electric or hydrogen-powered by 2035, according to Fox.

These new rules promote Newsom’s executive order and plans.

Newsom’s executive order, which he first announced in September 2020, is his big plan to end California’s reliance on fossil fuels.

“It shall be a goal of the State that 100 percent of in-state sales of new passenger cars and trucks will be zero-emission by 2035. It shall be a further goal of the State that 100 percent of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in the State be zero-emission by 2045 for all operations where feasible and by 2035 for drayage trucks. It shall be a further a goal of the State to transition to 100 percent zero-emission off-road vehicles and equipment by 2035 where feasible,” Newsom’s 2020 executive order outlined.

Newsom said that this plan would be a big step in fighting climate change.

“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change. For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe,” Newsom said when he announced his executive order, according to a release from his office.

“Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines,” Newsom added.

But Toyoda pointed out last week that there are still many obstacles to the universal use of electric vehicles.

For that reason, Toyoda said his company is simultaneously investing in electric vehicles while also still promoting hybrids that use both gas and battery power, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“We don’t want to leave anybody behind,” Toyoda said.

Toyota has been criticized by investors for not fully moving forward with investment in EVs while it has remained the leader in the hybrid market, the Journal reported.

But Toyoda said Toyota’s strategy is multi-faceted and not just focused on EVs.

“[P]laying to win means playing with all the cards in the deck — not just a select few. So that’s our strategy and we’re sticking to it,” Toyoda said in a video on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

By Abby Liebing

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