FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 13th, 2023
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Interfaith Power & Light Demands Accountability from Toyota Following New Electric Vehicle Announcement
Faith Leaders delivered a letter with roughly 15,500 signatures to Toyota’s US headquarters asking the company to commit to full electrification by 2035 without exception
PLANO, TX – Leaders from Interfaith Power & Light delivered a letter to Toyota’s US headquarters on Tuesday, asking the auto giant to make a firm commitment to ending the sale of gas powered cars and offering 100% electric vehicles (EVs) by 2035. The letter was signed by more than 15,500 people concerned about Toyota’s history of anti-climate lobbying and the company’s failure to meaningfully invest in electric vehicles.
“There is a moral imperative to rapidly bring zero-emissions vehicles to market. As the world’s largest automaker, it is not an exaggeration to say the decisions Toyota makes on electric cars will impact the lives of every person on this planet,” said Reverend Susan Hendershot, President of Interfaith Power & Light. “Two years ago, Toyota’s senior executive of government affairs traveled to DC to lobby Congress behind closed doors in opposition to an aggressive transition to electric cars. Over the last few years, they have consistently stood in the way of progress in the fight against climate change. While much of the industry is finally making the transition away from gas-powered cars, Toyota refuses. We are here calling on Toyota to change, and we will continue to hold automakers accountable for their past actions.”
Transportation, including the vehicles we drive, is the number one source of climate pollution in the United States. It is not enough to announce new electric cars – we must seek to get gas-powered cars off the road if we have any hope of preventing the worst effects of climate change. Just days before the letter delivery, Toyota announced plans to develop 10 new EVs by 2026, yet it avoided making a single commitment to end the sale of gas-powered cars and trucks. Toyota has only pledged to sell 3.5 million electric vehicles annually by 2030 – only around a third of its current vehicle sales. Meanwhile, several of its competitors are planning to exclusively sell electric cars by no later than 2035.
“We believe Toyota has a responsibility to protect our people and our planet from climate change – but the company has consistently failed to live up to that responsibility,” said Fr. Paul Klitzke, Rector at Episcopal Church of the Ascension. “The climate crisis isn’t going to wait for Toyota to prioritize affordable, clean cars. Our hope is that under Mr. Sato’s leadership Toyota starts anew. Toyota could once again become a leader in the development and production of clean cars. The Earth is calling on all of us to work together – and Toyota must answer the call.”
Despite the company’s new EV strategy, Mr. Sato also re-emphasized the company’s commitment to gas-powered hybrid cars like the 20-year-old Prius and doubled down on his company’s plans to prioritize hydrogen vehicles – a technology with little consumer demand and a lack of viable infrastructure.
“After Toyota’s sustained, years’ long effort to stop the EV transition, it’s hard to have faith in them. But Mr. Sato has a chance to set things right,” said Pastor Samuel Voth Schrag of Peace Mennonite Church. “As the new CEO, Mr. Sato can take steps today that would reverse years of mistakes and put Toyota on the right path – that starts with a commitment to delivering affordable, all-electric cars by 2035. We are calling on Toyota to meet the urgency of the moment and fulfill its obligations as shared stewards of this planet.”
To learn more about Interfaith Power & Light’s faith-based mission to protect our Shared Home, read the letter to Toyota here.
Interfaith Power & Light is a national nonprofit that inspires and mobilizes people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change.