Gill Pratt, Toyota’s lead automotive researcher and scientist, is warning that the world is transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs) too quickly.
- Speaking with reporters on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s G7 Summit in Japan, Pratt offered a measured warning that the full transition from gas-powered vehicles to EVs will take longer than expected, Bloomberg reports.
- He warns that there is an insufficient supply of charging resources and raw materials to produce batteries to meet the demands of an entirely EV economy.
- Pratt also warns that drivers are liable to cling to less expensive gas-powered vehicles in the event of a rapid transition and that producing gas-powered vehicles will be necessary for customers who cannot afford EVs.
Why It’s Important
Former Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has received significant praise and criticism for his measured response to the global push for the clean energy transition and net zero emissions by 2050. As we previously reported, he was less optimistic than many of his colleagues about the imminent takeover of EVs. He preferred diversifying his company’s clean energy alternatives through reduced-emissions vehicles and hybrids.
Despite efforts to rush the clean energy transition, fossil fuels still have decades before being nearly phased out. The International Energy Agency predicts that oil and gas consumption will continue to increase through the 2050s before gradually decreasing afterward.
Additionally, EVs have a rocky road ahead of mass adoption. Market forces have kept EVs well out of the range of affordability for lower-class and middle-class consumers. EVs are unlikely to see mass adoption before consumer models sell below the average transaction price for a used gas car, and at the moment, a used EV is worth more than many new gas cars.
“Eventually, resource limitations will end, but for many years we will not have enough battery material and renewable recharging resources for a BEV-only solution. Battery materials and renewable charging infrastructure will eventually be plentiful. But it will take decades for battery material mines, renewable-power generation facilities, transmission lines, and seasonal energy-storage facilities to scale up,” says Pratt.