In a recent letter addressed to the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Toyota Motor North America, Inc. criticized the agency's proposed new tailpipe emission standards, deeming them "unrealistic" and warning that they could spark a shortage of critical minerals.
Toyota sent a letter to EPA administrator Michael Regan with comments on the agency's tailpipe emission limits for vehicles produced in 2027 and beyond. The proposed rule calls for more electric vehicles to be sold, accounting for 67% of new light-duty vehicle sales and 46% of new medium-duty vehicle sales in model year 2032. Currently, EVs and plug-in hybrids are approximately 10% of the market.
Toyota said explosive growth in EV vehicle production to meet new government standards would spark many "challenges, including the scarcity of minerals to make batteries, the fact that these minerals are not mined or refined in the US, the inadequate infrastructure and the high cost of battery-electric vehicles."
The carmaker stressed that it shares the Biden administration's goal to decarbonize transportation and is committed to vehicle electrification in America. "Our environmental track record speaks for itself. We have sold over 20 million electrified vehicles globally since the introduction of the Prius in 1997," it said.
Toyota said it will produce a new EV SUV at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky in 2025, with batteries sourced from the Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina plant. And it added it was "committed" to achieving carbon neutrality in 2050 over the entire life cycle of our vehicles.
Toyota provides further concerns about the EPA's proposed tailpipe emission rule:
The proposed standards are expected to result in a new vehicle sales mix of 67% BEV by 32MY. Achieving such a high penetration is almost entirely dependent on factors outside our control. As discussed in more detail in our attached comments, hundreds of new mines are needed globally to produce enough critical minerals to support so many BEVs. The sources for those minerals are almost exclusively outside the US, as is most of the mineral processing to turn the ore into usable battery-grade material. And the charging infrastructure (both in-home and public) needed to support that level of electrification is far from where it needs to be. Recent legislation and incentives are directionally supportive but appear far short of what is needed. EPA should adjust the standards in the proposed rule to account for these major uncertainties over which automakers have little control, but for which we face significant compliance and brand/reputation ramifications should they not come to bear. Compliance cannot be based on factors over which we have no control.
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