New Toyota chief refuses to abandon hydrogen, will improve supply chain

Koji Sato is promising to continue Toyota's hydrogen focus, despite criticisms against outgoing CEO Akio Toyoda for embracing the technology

Incoming Toyota CEO Koji Sato says he will continue to prioritize hydrogen as an alternative fuel source, even as the automaker ramps up electric vehicle production.

In addition to his support for hybrid vehicles, outgoing chief Akio Toyoda was also a major proponent of hydrogen as an alternative to fossil fuels. However, his preference for the two technologies and indifference towards electrification earned him considerable backlash from critics, who argued that the hesitation on EVs would cause the automaker to fall behind its competitors. These fears were seemingly well-founded, as Toyota failed to introduce an electric product on an international scale until last year, leaving it disadvantaged in a market which is seeing rapid growth.

Sato, who is set to replace the CEO on the first day of April, has backtracked this sentiment while promising to re-energize the company’s EV initiatives. However, while many had hoped the new chief would throw the entirety of the brand’s resources behind electrification, he has instead promised to maintain and even expand Toyota’s hydrogen focus. “We want to ensure that hydrogen stays a viable options,” he commented, adding that the automaker needed “a production and transport supply chain.”

Sato made the remarks at a race in which Toyota had hoped to compete with a new hydrogen fueled race car. However, since the vehicle had caught fire during a test run one week before, it was not present at the event. However, a company spokesperson noted that “hydrogen was not the cause of this problem…Rather, it was the insufficient consideration of our design work. Whatever fuel we used could have leaked and caught fire.”

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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