Once again, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are being criticized for their slow progress on battery electric vehicles and other decarbonization initiatives. The nonprofit group Greenpeace, which advocates for a sustainable future, recently published a report that revealed how far behind other automakers in Japan is. Japanese automakers have a reputation for being hesitant to release all-electric vehicles on the market. Although Toyota and its Japanese competitors introduced the Prius as the first mass-market hybrid vehicle in 1997, neither company has advanced much since then.
What's fascinating is that Japan has the third-largest economy and some of the most cutting-edge technology, like quantum computing, smart farming, and bullet trains—all of which are electric, of course. So why is it so far behind in creating completely electric vehicles and reducing carbon emissions?
Japan, for instance, has a culture that is largely conservative. The nation deeply believes in hierarchy and order. Naturally, it will be up to the leaders when it comes to a substantial shift. The higher-ups at Toyota, Honda, and Nissan have shown a tendency to think along the lines of "if it ain't broke, don't repair it," which frequently leads to gradual change, as we are currently witnessing.
For instance, Toyota North America's Executive Vice President of Sales was recently cited as saying, "I don't think the market is ready [for EVs]." The infrastructure isn't, in my opinion, ready.
Despite all the data indicating that electric vehicles are the way of the future:
The market is moving in that direction since there is a significant demand for EVs and strong worldwide sales growth each year.
According to Greenpeace's most recent assessment, out of the top 10 manufacturers, big Japanese automakers Toyota, Honda, and Nissan perform the worst in terms of promoting a greener future. Toyota came in last place because zero-emission vehicles (not hybrids) didn't even account for 1% of its overall sales. Toyota has one of the least advanced supply networks for decarbonization, according to the research.
Greenpeace Japan's climate and energy campaigner is correct when she says:
"I believe that the time for hybrids is over."
It is, indeed. The answer is not hybrids. They are only useful as a stopgap until all-electric vehicles are available. The transportation industry won't start to move toward sustainability until then.
As a result of Honda's poor planning to meet its target of introducing 30 new electric cars by 2030, the business came in ninth, according to Greenpeace. Nissan ranks eighth on the list. With the Nissan LEAF, which gained an early advantage in the EV industry, sales of zero-emission vehicles have not made much headway.
Japanese hybrids were a huge risk, but the world is quickly moving toward electric vehicles, and no one wants to remain with hybrids. Toyota said in 2019 that it will permit other businesses to utilize its almost 24,000 patents linked to its hybrid technology in an effort to promote hybrid vehicles. Although there was virtually no firm to use the patents, they were made available for royalty-free usage until 2030.
Although Japanese manufacturers like Toyota have threatened to quit regions that want to outlaw the sale of hybrid vehicles, they cannot stop the globe from doing so. Hybrids were manipulated into being included in Japan's EV strategy so they could receive the same benefits as EVs.
Japanese had time to correct their ship despite being a few feet behind. Although Japanese manufacturers can certainly advance EV technology, they haven't shown the will or drive to do so up to this point. They must, however, keep in mind that time is running out.