According to Toyota, “the electric car is not the only answer”

The CEO of Toyota’s science department does not believe in an all-electric solution. According to him, different cars should coexist in the future.

Despite the arrival of an impressive electric range, Toyota continues to fight for the hybrid. The Japanese manufacturer launched electrified technologies almost 25 years ago. Undisputed leader of the hybrid, the brand wants different technological solutions in the future.

It was Gill Pratt, CEO of the scientific department Toyota Research Institute, who explained this to our colleagues atCoach. Pratt is, above all, a scientist who worked primarily for the U.S. Department of Defense. He confirms that we must work to limit climate change, but is concerned about 100% electricity.

“Of course no one is forced to take me seriously”explains Pratt and specifies that it is based on science. ‘What I try to do is base myself on facts and as much as possible on science. I would like to talk about all facets of the problem. »

“This approach comes naturally to me, I have been a teacher for many years. What I learned is that hype is the enemy. It causes people to misunderstand the path of what is going to happen and it leads to bad decisions. »

“The hype closes the minds. This leads to too many investments in one approach over another. A cycle of madness leads to disappointment when the promised does not happen. It’s bad for everyone. »

Electric cars are not a fault

Pratt does not say that the electric car is not a good solution. The engineer wants there to be a sustainable choice in the market without minimizing “zero emissions”.

“I accept that for some people electricity is the right answer”, he answers when asked if the electrical is a fault. What is disturbing Pratt is, first and foremost, the commitment given in 2035 to have electricity only.

“What I have a problem with is that the right solution is prescribed. The right solution is not a single technology. In any case, we cannot say with certainty that it is today. »

In particular, the researcher explains that the rechargeable hybrid is not “not perfect”but that it is an interesting solution. “We can use the batteries to their full potential and there is no range anxiety. It is a solution that can attract people to cleaner transport, rather than forcing them to change despite their fears.”

But “zero emissions” must remain a goal

However, unlike the Toyota Group’s CEO, who has repeatedly denied the benefits of electricity, Gill Pratt believes that electricity and “zero emissions” should be in the firing line for manufacturers.

“Yes, it must be, we must achieve it. But the whole world does not get there at the same time. Every gram of CO2 we emit is with us for hundreds of years. We create a reservoir that lasts for several years and that we do not reduce until we go to zero. »

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“We must have an effort that reduces CO2 emissions as much as possible in relation to the regions’ challenges. Therefore, the electric car is not the answer for the whole world today. It is in some parts of the world, but not everywhere. »

“It is true that we must be ambitious. But “zero-emission” cars do not mean zero-emissions. What about infrastructure? What about electricity production? What about the availability of materials? »

The electric car is an answer adapted to specific regions

The pressure to say more about which parts of the world are more likely to become electric, Pratt says more. Not surprisingly, he chooses the regions where the energies do not pollute. This, of course, reflects his previous questions on infrastructure and energy.

“In some team matches it is. In Norway, the amount of green energy is so great that electric cars can run very clean. They have also invested heavily in charging infrastructure, so there are no problems there.”

“But if you go to Eastern Europe, the equation is not that good. These countries must, of course, get there, but the creation of energy today is very much dependent on coal. And the charging infrastructure is far behind. »

And according to Pratt, it is unsustainable to force countries to obtain the best results. According to him, the example that Norway offers is not possible to copy for everyone.

“Yes, we can ask them to change. But asking them to copy Norway is just not possible. They do not have the same natural resources. And that means there must be better ways to reduce emissions than just setting a date for when we go for electricity. »

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