It’s an open secret that, even as automakers announce ambitious plans for new EV models, and air EV ads featuring smiling grandparents, the companies actively fight against the kind of government regulations that are forcing them to produce EVs in the first place.
Corporate watchdog SumOfUs recently delivered a petition to Toyota signed by more than 110,000 members, including 10,000 Toyota drivers, demanding that the carmaker stop “lobbying to prevent electric vehicle mandates and clean air laws.”
According to a recent report from InfluenceMap, all the major automakers save Tesla engage in lobbying against climate policies (directly, through trade groups, or both), and most have set production goals for EVs that are far short of what would be required to meet the emissions reduction targets that most scientists say are necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.
“Toyota is working harder than any other auto company to prevent this progress and slow down the shift to electric mobility, and plans for only 14% of its total production to be EV by the end of the decade,” SumOfUs tells us. “According to this [InfluenceMap] report, Toyota is therefore planning to miss its Paris Agreement commitments.”
The EU is currently considering new zero-emissions guidelines for 2035, and Toyota has reportedly been lobbying to water down the proposed regulations.
“SumOfUs members—many of whom are Toyota customers—are demanding that Toyota immediately stop lobbying against climate regulations and go green,” said SumOfUs campaigner Eoin Dubsky as he delivered the petition at Toyota’s European headquarters. “Our members are horrified that Toyota—once a leader in environmental technology—has fallen so far behind, and is even holding up the rest of us.”
More than 500 of the Toyota customers who signed the petition included personal messages for Toyota.
“Dear Toyota, nine years ago I bought myself a Prius…What an amazing piece of technology,” wrote one signer. “Since then, you’ve produced a raft of other hybrids, but no full EVs. This is a huge disappointment to me because I trust the quality of your cars and would love to be able to purchase a Toyota EV.”
“I have owned several Toyotas in my life, but I guarantee you I will never buy another one if you don’t do your duty to the planet and meet the EU 2035 zero-emissions guidelines,” wrote another.
Another signer noted the importance of researching a company’s policies before making a purchase decision: “I recently got a Toyota hybrid but I wouldn’t have made this decision if I’d known about Toyota lobbying EU lawmakers for more time/in favor of fossil fuels. I thought you were a green company! I should have done more homework.”