Toyota Lambasted Again in Europe For Not Going ‘All In’ on EVs

Toyota has come under fire again, this time from giant European pension funds over its opposition to going “all in” on electric vehicles (EVs), as green activist investors prepare for a showdown at this week’s general meeting.

Once the pioneer of green technology with the launch of Prius hybrid in 1997, the Japanese auto giant has become one of the most vocal critics of a rapid transition to battery-powered vehicles and the fiercest guardian of the petrol-electric hybrid technology. In UK, Toyota has previously warned it would stop investing in its UK factory, where more than 80% of production is hybrid, if its technology was banned from sale.

The government has recently proposed that more than half of all new cars sold in the UK must be fully electric by 2028, but was criticized by Toyota for not clarifying the future of hybrids. Toyota also sided with former US president Donald Trump when he tried to roll back fuel efficiency standards. At home, Akio Toyoda, its president who also heads Japan’s car industry lobby, last year questioned the government’s decision to ban new gasoline cars by 2035.

These lobbying efforts by Toyota have been a target of AkademikerPension, the $20bn Danish fund; Sweden’s largest pension fund AP7, the $120bn Nordic asset manager; and the Church of England, which held a combined $300mn shares in Toyota as of last year.

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