Toyota’s North American CEO Isn’t Exactly Brimming With Enthusiasm for EVs

“(Tesla CEO Elon Musk) has excited a lot of people about EVs,” Lentz said. “I worry a little bit we are over-stimulated in our belief that EVs are going to take over the world quickly. Today, if you look at just alternative vehicles (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, BEV, or fuel-cell) there are 94 nameplates out there. And they sold about 600,000 (units) last year. But only seven sold more than 2,000 a month.”

In Lentz’s mind, nothing short of government regulation could force consumers to step away from sub two-dollar gasoline and nudge the EV take rate up at a reasonable clip. Continued slow growth, led by one manufacturer (Tesla), is what the future holds, he claims.

“There’s not much growth in that industry,” Lentz said, adding that some automakers might be focusing too much on the future and not on the next few years.

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