California’s plans to ban the sales of gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 is “difficult” to achieve as it may take longer for battery-electric cars (BEVs) to become mainstream, Toyota’s President Akio Toyoda said.
Toyoda said that BEVs will “take longer to become mainstream than the media would like us to believe,” citing its impact on the electrical grid and the lack of easy access to electricity as barriers to its adoption.
“Realistically speaking, it seems rather difficult to really achieve them,” the grandson of the automaker’s founder said at a press briefing in Las Vegas on Thursday.
Toyoda said that his company would continue to offer a variety of car models to customers while advancing its goals for electric car development, pushing back against critics who claimed that Toyota was slow to embrace BEVs.
“Playing 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,” he said.
Toyota Motor Corporation, the world’s largest carmaker by sales, last year pledged to invest $35 billion to sell 3.5 million EVs globally by 2030 and release 30 battery-powered models within the same period.
The company launched its first mass-produced BEV in May but later issued a global recall of the bZ4X over loose bolts connecting the wheels, which could result in the wheels falling off while driving.
California’s Gas Car Ban
California regulators last month voted to ban the sale of new internal combustion vehicles by 2035, though Californians will still be able to continue driving them or purchasing used ones beyond the deadline.
The scheme also allows for one-fifth of sales after 2035 to be plug-in hybrids that can run on batteries and gas. Washington has said that it would adopt a version of California’s rule by year’s end.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), however, criticized the plans to ban gas-powered cars as “self-defeating and silly,” citing California’s inability to produce enough electricity with solar and wind to meet the state’s plans.
“If they’re going to go to all battery-powered cars, then I guess they’re going to be charging their cars with coal and natural gas, because that’s how you produce electricity because they don’t like nuclear plants,” Rubio said.
“And I don’t think you can generate enough power for a state like California based on solar and wind. So in the end, it’s self-defeating,” the Republican senator added.
Rubio said he believes electric vehicle technology will continue to advance and the day will come when there’ll be more of them on American roads. But market mechanisms—not government dictates—should be the driving force behind widespread EV adoption, he said.
He added that the “hypocrisy” and “silliness” of California’s scheme to ban gas-powered cars is reflected in such situations as California’s power grid operator telling EV drivers not to charge their vehicles at certain times because it puts too much pressure on the grid.
Tom Ozimek and Reuters contributed to this report.