September 17, 2021

Toyota is discreetly lobbying Congress to make the transition to electric vehicles more gradual

2 min read

The United States is moving slowly toward adopting laws that would increase the number of electric vehicles that are on the road, but Toyota believes that is not fast enough. Toyota, the world’s largest manufacturer, has been covertly lobbying lawmakers in Washington, DC, to oppose the push to shift to an all-electric future, partly because it is trailing behind the rest of the industry in making that move.

As per The New York Times, a senior Toyota executive met with congressional lawmakers behind closed doors in recent months to lobby against the Biden administration’s plans to invest billions of dollars to encourage people to switch to electric vehicles. Chris Reynolds, the executive, has advocated that hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius and hydrogen-powered fuel-cell cars should also be considered.

Toyota is also fighting against EV-friendly policies through the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the car industry’s major DC-based lobbying group. According to the New York Times, the group, which represents major automakers and suppliers and is controlled by Reynolds, has been lobbying against the Biden administration’s decision to accept the so-called California bargain as its official position.

Last year, a group of automakers reached an agreement on tailpipe emission levels with California, which had sought stricter regulations than the rest of the US. The Environmental Protection Agency attempted to deprive California of its ability to set its pollution standards under President Donald Trump’s administration. That rule was reversed under Biden, allowing California as well as other states to adopt stricter restrictions.

Toyota was not a part of the initial agreement since it stood with the Trump administration in its fight with California. In India and its home nation of Japan, the firm has campaigned against EV-friendly policies.

Given its prominence as an early user of battery-powered mobility, Toyota’s behind-the-scenes efforts to dampen the momentum behind the EV-friendly policies are surprising. The Toyota Prius, which was released in 1997, paved the way for Tesla and the others by demonstrating that automobiles with alternative powertrains might be quite popular. In addition, the carmaker recently announced plans to release 70 new cars by 2025, comprising battery-electric, hydrogen fuel-cell, and gas-electric hybrids.

However, Toyota has slipped well behind its competitors, appearing happy to rest on its laurels, whereas the rest of the industry has overtaken it numerous times. For years, companies like Nissan, GM, and Volkswagen have been marketing pure battery-electric vehicles while announcing plans to phase out gas automobiles entirely. Toyota’s refusal to embrace electric vehicles isn’t a new concept.

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