TOKYO, Japan: Toyota Motor Corp's top scientist has warned that battery electric vehicles cannot be the auto sector's only answer to climate change, given the shortage of resources.
Fearing that focusing on EVs could lead some drivers to hold onto polluting vehicles, the world's top automaker by sales has countered that gasoline-electric hybrids, such as its pioneering Prius, are a more realistic choice for some markets and drivers.
Gill Pratt, chief executive of the Toyota Research Institute, told reporters that EVs could make a positive difference in reducing climate change in countries such as Norway, which has a well-built renewable infrastructure.
But in other parts of the world where coal is still used to produce power, hybrids were better for reducing CO2 emissions, he added.
"Battery materials and renewable charging infrastructure will eventually be plentiful," Pratt said in Hiroshima, a day before the start of a Group of Seven leaders summit in the Japanese city.
"But it's going to take decades for battery material mines, renewable power generation, transmission lines and seasonal energy-storage facilities to scale up."
Toyota, which seeks to sell 1.5 million battery-powered cars by 2026 and introduce 10 new fully electric models, has frequently argued that reaching carbon neutrality will mean the use of hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles.