The scary climate assumptions driving Toyota’s go slow on electric cars

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The Driven

Toyota, the world’s biggest car-maker, this week unveiled its first electric SUV (pictured above), one of seven different pure electric models it plans to roll out over the next few years.

But the Japanese car giant is in no great hurry to ditch the internal combustion engine, and its reasons for going slow appear to be based on the assumption of a climate catastrophe.

“One-quarter of the world’s CO2 emissions today come from electricity generation. Even by 2040, more than half the world’s electricity is expected to be generated by fossil fuels,” Toyota’s head of sales and marketing in Australia, Sean Hanley, told Car Advice in an article titled Why every car on the plant can’t switch to electric power.

“Therefore if all cars were to become (pure electric vehicles), the demand for electricity would increase and carbon neutrality could be a long way off,” Hanley said, adding that this was a clear reason not to go too hard or too fast on all electric.

We asked Toyota Australia for the source of Hanley’s prediction that fossil fuels would be generating half of the world’s electricity by 2040. We didn’t hear back.

Even the International Energy Agency, the still conservative organisation established half a century ago to protect the oil and gas industry, reckons that “the share of renewables in global electricity generation grows from just over 25% in 2019 to more than 50% by 2030”.

That’s in its latest Sustainable Development Scenario, which delivers global net zero emissions by around 2070, which represents a slower transition than its Net Zero 2050 target, the very minimum that needs to be achieved if the world is to cap average global warming at around 2°C.

So, Toyota’s declaration that there is no point reaching high levels of electric car sales by 2040 is based on the assumption that the world is going to miss its climate targets, not just by a small margin, but a huge margin. It’s a grim prediction.

To read the full story, please go to our EV-focused sister site, The Driven, and click here.

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