Toyota: The Rebel Against the Electric Revolution, Fanning the Flames of the Combustion Engine Era


Sit tight, auto enthusiasts, because Toyota just pumped the brakes on the electric vehicle (EV) bandwagon, questioning whether the world is ready to trade in the rumble of combustion engines for the hum of EVs. So, while many car manufacturers are packing up their combustion engines and waving them goodbye, Toyota is like that stubborn old uncle refusing to upgrade his flip phone to a smartphone.

"Why rush?" they seem to say, lounging back and toasting to the good old Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) days. Chief Scientist Gill Pratt, a.k.a. Toyota's very own science wizard, raises a perfectly manicured eyebrow at the mad dash towards EVs. He suggests that shoving EVs down consumers' throats might just encourage them to cling onto their beloved gas guzzlers for dear life. Classic reverse psychology there, eh?

At a G7 summit in Hiroshima, where he likely arrived in a hybrid, Pratt conceded that yes, subsidies do make EVs look more attractive, but not everyone wants to be part of the EV club just yet. It's like having a loyalty card for a coffee shop you don't frequent. His solution to the whole saga is to breathe some more life into the ICE by nurturing hybrids and putting alternative fuels on the fast track towards mass production. Did I mention that Toyota has been tinkering around with hydrogen-fueled combustion engines? It's like turning water into wine, but for cars!

Pratt also cast some shade on the idea that the auto industry could flick a switch and churn out EVs like hotcakes. He pointed out a teeny tiny obstacle: supply limitations. Especially when it comes to all those pesky materials needed for battery packs.

His prediction? Sure, eventually we'll have enough resources to build batteries and renewable recharging infrastructure. But in the meantime, he reckons we'll be twiddling our thumbs for a few decades while battery material mines and renewable power facilities play catch-up.

Of course, not everyone is on the same page. Volkswagen CEO Thomas SchΓ€fer is already labeling gasoline and diesel engines as "old technology." He basically rolled his eyes at the talk about synthetic fuels, calling it "unnecessary noise." Meanwhile, Porsche is busy investing in these very e-fuels.

Toyota's new CEO Koji Sato did put in a good word for synthetic fuels, but he's keeping it real, stating these fuels need to step up their game before becoming a solid alternative. He's also playing it cool with solid-state batteries, pointing out that durability is still a "huge challenge." In other words, Toyota isn't about to jump onto any bandwagon that comes along - they're sticking with the tried and true, with a sprinkle of innovation on top.


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