Toyota Motor Corp, under scrutiny from investors over a perceived sluggish embrace of battery electric vehicles, says it needs to offer a variety of choices to suit different environments and customers.
At its annual general meeting on Wednesday, executives at the world’s largest automaker by sales tackled questions ranging from concerns about its electrification strategy to CEO succession plans and the ongoing chip shortage.
Once a favorite with environmentalists for the hybrid Prius model it popularized more than two decades ago, Toyota has come under fire from some investors for not phasing out gasoline-powered cars and its lobbying on climate policy.
Toyota argues that hybrids still make sense in markets where infrastructure isn’t ready to support a faster move to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and is exploring the viability of green fuels for internal combustion engine cars, including hydrogen.
The company last year moved to spend 8 trillion yen ($60.6 billion) by 2030 to electrify its cars, half of which is slated to develop full EVs.
Still, it expects annual sales of such cars to reach only 3.5 million vehicles by the end of the decade, or around a third of current sales.
Just last month, Toyota rolled out its first mass-produced BEVs domestically, albeit for lease only, and gasoline-electric hybrid models remain far more popular in Japan than BEVs.