Toyota Wants to Convert Old Cars to Electric

Conversion offers a faster way to zero-emission vehicles, says CEO Akio Toyoda
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 13, 2023 5:35 PM CST
Toyota Wants to Convert Old Cars to Electric
Toyota Motor Corp. Chief Executive Akio Toyoda delivers a speech on the stage at the Tokyo Auto Salon, an industry event similar to the world's auto shows Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, in Chiba near Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

To accelerate the global move toward sustainable vehicles, Toyota is suggesting simply replacing the inner workings of vehicles already on the roads with cleaner technology like fuel cells and electric motors. "I don't want to leave any car lover behind," Chief Executive Akio Toyoda said Friday, per the AP, appearing on the stage at the Tokyo Auto Salon, an industry event similar to the world's auto shows. The message was clear: Toyota Motor Corp. wants the world to know it hasn't fallen behind in electric vehicles, as some detractors have implied.

Japan's top automaker, behind the Lexus luxury brands and the Prius hybrid, is highlighting its clout: It has all the technology, engineering, financial reserves, and industry experience needed to remain a powerful competitor in green vehicles. Toyoda told reporters it would take a long time for all the cars to become zero emission, as they only make up a fraction of the vehicles being sold. Changing old cars to go green, or "conversion," was a better option, he said. Toyoda, the grandson of the company founder and an avid racer himself, was also hoping to debunk the stereotype that clean cars aren't as fun as regular cars.

At Toyota's Gazoo Racing booth, the maker of the Lexus luxury models and Camry sedan showed video of its triumph at world rallies, as well as the battery-electric and hydrogen-powered versions of the Toyota AE86 series including the Toyota Corolla Levin, to underline what Toyoda called its "conversion" srategy. The auto industry is undergoing a transformation because of growing concerns about climate change. Automakers are often blamed as the culprits. Toyoda said ecological efforts in the auto industry were starting to be appreciated in many nations, but he felt less appreciated in Japan. (More Toyota stories.)

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