Toyota will convert older cars into eco-friendly models to reduce emissions

  • Toyota plans to turn older cars into eco-friendly models by updating parts, AP reported.
  • CEO Akio Toyoda announced the effort at an industry event in Tokyo on Friday, according to the AP.
  • Toyota has been reluctant to produce electric vehicles due to high costs and concerns about a lack of demand.

Toyota has an idea for making its cars more environmentally friendly — and it doesn’t involve making new electric vehicles.

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said the company plans to use a “conversion” strategy that involves transforming older cars into more sustainable models by replacing certain parts, the Associated Press reported.

Speaking at an industry event on Friday, Toyoda — the grandson of the company’s founder, Kiichiro Toyoda — said Toyota is considering replacing sustainable technologies such as fuel cells and electric motors in older cars in an effort to accelerate the industry’s shift toward electric vehicles.

“I don’t want to leave any car lover behind,” Toyoda said at the Tokyo Auto Salon, AP reports.

The proposal represents a significant step for Toyota, which has lagged behind competitors in the adoption of electric vehicles.

The company has faced growing criticism for its lack of commitment to producing electric vehicles — a reluctance that has been driven in large part by the high costs of manufacturing the cars and Toyoda’s insistence that some markets, particularly the U.S., are not ready for them, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Instead, the company looked to alternatives in the form of hybrid cars that run on a mixture of gasoline and electricity and hydrogen-powered cars. Although Toyota has established itself as a leader in hybrids, the company’s commitment to the model has led some to believe it has become a means of avoiding a broader push for electric power, the AP reported.

According to Electrek, which tracks the development of electric vehicles, Toyota has generated less than 1% of its US sales from non-hybrid zero-emission vehicles and “has the least developed supply chain to reduce carbon emissions.”

At the event, Toyoda said that while “regulations have fueled a race to get EVs to market as soon as possible,” that’s ultimately “not Toyota’s approach,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Despite its reluctance to introduce electric vehicles, the company still set a December 2021 goal of selling 3.5 million electric vehicles a year by 2030. At the time, Toyota also promised to make all models in its Lexus lineup electric in the U.S. , China and Europe until 2030.

“[It] it’s going to be hard, but it’s something we have to do,” Toyoda said in December 2021, the Journal reported.

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