American Pension Funds Vote Against Toyota Chair After Questioning Electric Cars

Major automaker Toyota Akio Toyoda received criticism from environmentalists following comments made regarding the future of electric vehicles (EVs), highlighting concerns from conservatives that the recent drive to ban internal combustion engines may be shortsighted.

In particular, the public pension funds of California and New York City used their Toyota stock to vote against Toyoda remaining as chair. 

Toyoda courted controversy for stating that there was a “silent majority” among carmakers who wondered “whether EVs are really OK to have as a single option.” 

“But they think it’s the trend so they can’t speak out loudly,” he said.

The auto giant’s leader said that electric vehicles are not the only way to achieve carbon-neutral results, citing the use of hybrids.

Toyota cast doubt on the idea that the United States would be able to convert most of its vehicle fleet to electric by the end of the decade.

Several American states have already pledged to ban the sale of new vehicles which use traditional fuels.

California announced last year that it would bar the purchase of gas and diesel cars starting in 2035.

The chair of the state air resources board said that the change would “essentially end vehicle emissions altogether.” As of last year, 16% of all new cars sold in the Golden State were zero-emission vehicles. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said that the new policy was a “groundbreaking, world-leading plan.” The governor also discussed the state’s $10 billion commitment toward making it “easier and cheaper for all Californians to purchase electric cars.”

The Empire State announced a similar plan last year. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed a bill into law that would eliminate the sale of many new traditionally-fueled vehicles by 2035. 

The governor said that the “new law and regulation mark a critical milestone in our efforts and will further advance the transition to clean electric vehicles while helping to reduce emissions in communities that have been overburdened by pollution from cars and trucks for decades.”

The state will ban “new off-road vehicles and equipment” that are not zero emissions by 2035 and “new medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045.”