Many automakers have already announced when they'll stop selling cars equipped with combustion engines, but Toyota is not on that long list. Instead, the Japanese automaker has been quite vocal about not rushing the demise of the ICE as it believes the world just isn't ready to go fully electric. In fact, Chief Scientist Gill Pratt argues forcing people to buy EVs could backfire by making them stick to their gasoline/diesel cars longer.
Speaking in Hiroshima prior to a G7 summit, Toyota Research Institute's CEO admitted subsidies make electric vehicles more appealing, but he believes not everyone is eager to jump on the EV bandwagon. His solution? Prolonging the life of the ICE by continuing to develop hybrids and making alternative fuels feasible for mass production. As a refresher, the company has been experimenting with hydrogen-fueled combustion engines.
Pratt also expressed his concern about the automotive industry not being ready to exclusively switch to EVs in the foreseeable future. His argument revolved around supply limitations, mainly pertaining to the materials that go into making a battery pack:
"Eventually, resource limitations will end, but for many years we will not have enough battery material and renewable recharging resources for a BEV-only solution. Battery materials and renewable charging infrastructure will eventually be plentiful. But it will take decades for battery material mines, renewable power generation facilities, transmission lines, and seasonal energy storage facilities to scale up."
While Toyota wants to keep the ICE alive, Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfer referred to gasoline and diesel engines as being "old technology." He went on to add all the talk about synthetic fuels is nothing more than "unnecessary noise." Not all members of the VW Group have the same opinion since Porsche is investing in the development and production of e-fuels.
Earlier this week, newly appointed Toyota CEO Koji Sato declared synthetic fuels need to evolve before becoming a viable alternative. He believes mass production will only happen after a significant reduction of the energy used during the production process. The top brass also thinks solid-state batteries need more time to reach maturity since durability continues to pose a "huge challenge."