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Toyota ‘Fully Committed’ to Electric Fleet, Says White House

The world’s biggest car maker by volume has been slow to join the EV revolution but has pledged to introduce 10 new battery-powered models

Toyota says it has made a technological breakthrough to enable it to produce smaller EV batteries that can charge quickly and allow a driving range of up to 745 miles.
Toyota says it has made a technological breakthrough to enable it to produce smaller EV batteries that can charge quickly and allow a driving range of up to 745 miles (Reuters file photo).


Japanese auto giant Toyota is now “fully committed” to electrifying its fleet after lagging behind almost all its rivals in the transition away from traditional engines, a senior White House advisor has declared.

John Podesta said Toyota Motor Corp “had been the laggard” on producing electric vehicles but was now ready to take the bull by the horns and move away from fossil-fuelled cars.

“I think they’re going to stick with plug-in hybrids for a while, maybe longer than some of the other companies but they’re fully now committed under their new leadership to electrification,” Podesta told reporters and editors in a roundtable meeting on Tuesday.


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Podesta was speaking after meeting with Toyota Research Institute CEO Gill Pratt and Toyota North America chief administrative officer Christopher Reynolds.

Last month, Toyota said it would introduce 10 new battery-powered models and target sales of 1.5 million EVs a year by 2026.

Toyota, including its Lexus luxury brand, now has just three battery models on the market and last year sold fewer than 25,000 of them worldwide.

Investors and environmental groups have criticised Toyota as slower to embrace battery-powered cars than Tesla and others.

Toyota in August said it would boost its planned investment in a planned North Carolina battery plant from $1.29 billion to $3.8 billion.

Last month, the US Environmental Protection Agency proposed sweeping emissions cuts for new cars and trucks through 2032. EPA estimates 67% of new vehicle sales by then will be EVs.


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The Biden administration has repeatedly declined to endorse setting a firm date to phase out gasoline-only vehicles as California has done. “I don’t think we think that’s necessary at this point,” Podesta said Tuesday.

White House infrastructure adviser Mitch Landrieu and Podesta met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in January.

“They’re a key player. They were the first ones out there,” Landrieu said of Tesla. “They were very open and workable and they’ve been a great partner.”

Biden committed to building a US network of 500,000 EV charging stations by 2030 using $7.5 billion in infrastructure funds.

“We got [Tesla] … to open up their network which took us much closer and much faster to the eventual goal of building the spine of EV charging stations. We have 500,000 of them we have to push out. We need about 3 million plus,” Landrieu said.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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