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Toyota Benefits As California Falls Out Of Love With EVs

Key Takeaways

  • Toyota’s mix of gas, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen vehicles is proving a success.
  • Registrations of hybrid vehicles in California far outpaces the growth of EVs.
  • The same scenario is likely to play out across the country, which is a win for Toyota.

As automakers rushed to make everything an electric vehicle, Toyota took a different approach. Chairman Akio Toyoda decided that EVs weren’t the clear path forward. Instead, he believed that a mix of propulsion systems was the right answer.

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His vision included gas, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and even hydrogen vehicles. The Toyota lineup reflects that strategy with the hydrogen Mirai, plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime, electric bZ4x, and an assortment of hybrids. Ed Kim, President and Chief Analyst, AutoPacific, told CarBuzz, “Toyota may have been criticized for what some perceived to be disinterest or rejection of pure EVs, but it was anything but.”

2024 Toyota RAV4 Prime Charging Port
Toyota

A Winning Gamble

That strategy is now paying off. The California New Car Dealer’s Association recently reported that registrations of new EVs are slowing in the state. “Many Californians who cannot currently afford luxury-priced EVs still want the benefits of electrification, leading to strong hybrid demand,” explained Kim.

Tesla in particular, once a darling of California drivers, experienced a 7.8 percent decline through the first quarter of the year. It still commanded 11.6 percent of the market, making it a leader in EVs, but Toyota posted a 9.3 percent increase in registrations over the first quarter of the year with 16.6 percent of the market.

2024 Toyota Mirai
Toyota

A Growing Trend

The trend becomes clearer comparing the first quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of 2024. Electric vehicle registrations increased by a modest 2.8 percent. Plug-in hybrid vehicles saw a much higher increase of 9 percent. Hybrid vehicles came in at the top with a 53 percent increase for the first quarter of 2024.

“Toyota is the clear winner in all this as they have been the undisputed leader in hybrids for the last two decades.” – Ed Kim, AutoPacific President and Chief Analyst

While these figures are only for California, they are a good indicator of what the rest of the country will likely experience. “Softening EV demand and rising hybrid demand in California may foretell how the rest of the country will take to EVs and hybrids in the future,” said Kim. “Indeed, there is strong evidence that this is already a national phenomenon.”

2024 Toyota bZ4X
Toyota

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