Toyota Chairman Skeptical of Widespread EV Adoption in Near Future

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Sept. 5, 2017—In a video interview with CNBC, the chairman of Toyota is skeptical that consumers will embrace such cars immediately, given current limitations in battery technology.

The remarks by Takeshi Uchiyamada, told to CNBC in an exclusive interview, mark a departure from the sentiment of several players in an industry that's trying to shift quickly to more "green" technology. Volvo, for instance, says that all new models launched from 2019 will be fully electric or hybrids.

"I must say up front that we're not against electric vehicles. But in order for electric vehicles to cover long distances, they currently need to be loaded with a lot of batteries that take a considerable amount of time to charge. There's also the issue of battery life," he said.

"But as laws and regulations (that encourage the development of electric vehicles) come into effect in places like China and the U.S., car makers will have no choice but to roll out electric vehicles or risk going out of business," he continued. "Toyota is no exception, but we're skeptical there would be a rapid shift to pure electric vehicles, given questions over user convenience."

Uchiyamada said another two or three more technological breakthroughs are needed before vehicles can be fully powered by batteries. Nevertheless, he admitted that some form of electrification is inevitable and that Toyota is already working on developing better batteries to power its cars.


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