“EVs are not the silver bullet” says Toyota NZ CEO

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Words: Matthew Hansen
10 Jun 2021

Yesterday’s Climate Change Commission announcement was one of the most significant announcements of the year so far for the motoring world, drawing in reaction from people across the industry.

Now, following the Motor Industry Association and the Motor Trade Association’s critiques, the CEO of Toyota New Zealand — Neeraj Lala — has responded to the Commission’s recommendations.

“Toyota definitely supports the government’s transition plans to a low emission economy,” said Lala. “We believe a multi-powertrain strategy focusing on different low emitting engines is the best way to reduce carbon emissions as a country while meeting customer needs.”

In a statement, Lala said he supports the government’s push for less emissions. However, he added that the focus should be on multiple powertrains instead of solely on fully electric vehicles.

Instead of solely backing EVs, Lala says that hybrids are a healthy middle ground that can enable quick change and reduction in emissions. According to the firm’s numbers, Toyota New Zealand is on target to meet its 164g/km Clean Car Standard efficiency target.

“EVs are not the silver bullet for three compelling reasons; they are priced beyond the reach of most car buyers, they continue to be in short supply, and cheap EVs sourced from new markets will not be highly rated from a safety point of view,” he said.

“We see hybrids as a way that we can act quickly as a country to reduce CO2 emissions with the current supply and infrastructure constraints that surround BEVs and PHEVs. We are already seeing kiwi consumers taking these options up at a faster pace, with more than an 800 per cent increase in our hybrid sales over the last five years.”

Toyota is placed much better than most marques when it comes to hybrids. Having chipped away at the technology for decades, hybrid powertrains can now be found in the Corolla, Camry, RAV4, C-HR, Yaris, and many other models offered by the marque. The five best-selling hybrids in the country between January 2021 and May 2021 were Toyotas.

The brand does not currently offer a fully electric model, but two are on the way in the form of the Lexus UX300e and the production version of the RAV4-sized Toyota bZ4X. The former lands this year, and the latter in 2022.

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