Toyota Leads the Way in Developing Advanced Combustion Engine Technology

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Toyota Leads the Way in Developing Advanced Combustion Engine Technology

Toyota hit a sales milestone in 2023, selling more vehicles than ever, though electric vehicles (EVs) barely nudged their growth figures. Among the 11.23 million vehicles the auto giant delivered, only 104,018 were EVs, accounting for just under 1% of their total sales. This underscores Toyota’s belief in the enduring demand for combustion engines.

In a significant gathering with 200 corporate leaders, Chairman Akio Toyoda doubled down on the commitment to advancing combustion engine technology, echoing his stance at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon that Toyota is not stepping away from engine development anytime soon.

Toyoda, during a Q&A, voiced his skepticism about EVs dominating the market, predicting they won’t surpass 30% market share. He envisions the future automotive landscape to be diverse, with gasoline vehicles, hybrids, and fuel cell EVs continuing to hold substantial market portions. He specifically highlighted the potential of hydrogen combustion engines, excluding diesel from the future lineup.

The focus on new combustion engine technology is becoming increasingly rare. As we step into 2024, the narrative in the auto industry is heavily tilted towards electric vehicles, with many automakers announcing plans to phase out internal combustion engines (ICEs) altogether. Leading brands such as Jaguar, Chrysler, and Volvo, among others, aim for a fully electric portfolio by the decade’s end. Even Toyota’s Lexus is set to discontinue combustion engines by 2035, marking Toyota’s ongoing combustion engine development as a distinctive path in an industry fast pivoting to electrification.

In a significant shift towards sustainability, several European car manufacturers are setting ambitious targets to transition to electric vehicles (EVs) by the end of this decade. Stellantis is leading the charge with a promise to offer only EVs in Europe by 2030. Mercedes has a similar goal, aiming to become fully electric in Europe by 2030, albeit with a caveat that this will depend on market readiness. Audi is not far behind, planning to cease production of combustion engine cars by 2032. While BMW has yet to announce a specific deadline, Volkswagen is committed to manufacturing exclusively EVs in Europe starting from 2033.

Toyota, however, adopts a contrasting stance. The company maintains that electric vehicles alone are not the panacea for achieving carbon neutrality. Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s chairman, has highlighted the inadequacies in the current charging infrastructure, alongside the reality that a significant portion of the global population, approximately one billion people, still lacks access to electricity. This insight is crucial for Toyota, given its global footprint, including in regions where electrification infrastructure is lacking. The company argues that a singular focus on EVs is impractical for meeting the diverse needs of its worldwide customer base, advocating for a broader approach to sustainable mobility.

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