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Toyota executive faces heat after making controversial claim about EVs: 'Trying to delay the inevitable'

"What else can you say?"

"What else can you say?”

Photo Credit: iStock

After a Toyota executive said electric vehicles don't "make sense" in the Australian market, Peter Johnson of Electrek looked further into the claim and discovered that Tesla had already proved that wasn't true, with the automaker's Model Y the top-selling SUV in the country through September. 

Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia's VP of sales, marketing, and franchise operations, had reportedly called the hybrids a "better fit."

As Johnson pointed out, however, Toyota "excels" at developing hybrid vehicles, and the company's executives have been "pushing" that technology, as EVs are becoming more popular on the continent, with 2023 seeing an 80% rise in sales of purely electric vehicles, per Electrek

Approximately 28% of Toyota's sales worldwide are hybrids, according to Hans Greimel of Automotive News (and quoted by the Autopian). 

Like other governments, including the United States and the European Union, Australia has been taking action to help reduce the amount of harmful carbon pollution released into the atmosphere. 

The National Electric Vehicle Strategy, which passed in April, hoped to encourage a transition to EVs, including by further developing the infrastructure to support their use, per Johnson.

According to Sergey Paltsev, the deputy director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, a 2019 study found that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) edged out hybrid vehicles in their reduction of carbon by 25%. 

Even though hybrid and BEVs are both better for the environment than gas-powered cars, cutting that percentage of pollution per household wouldn't be insignificant. 

Australia is home to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world and an important source of biodiversity. Unfortunately, as noted by WWF Australia, the effects of dirty energy have been causing harm to many of its inhabitants. 

Hanley's comments raised red flags for a number of commenters on the Electrek article, with some noting that Australia's ample sunshine combined with solar panels could help charge EVs. 

"Toyota trying to delay the inevitable is hilarious. They should focus on making EVs that people want to buy," one person wrote.  

"Guess if you don't have a compelling BEV to sell ... what else can you say?" another said

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