EV market ‘going to be a battle,’ warns Toyota chief at the Detroit Auto Show 2019

Volkswagen is planning to invest $800 million to launch production of two battery cars in the U.S. Infiniti wants to electrify 100 percent of its lineup. Mercedes-Benz is launching an all-new sub-brand of battery-electric vehicles and even Porsche is getting ready to roll out the battery-powered Taycan sportscar.

There’s just one thing wrong with this picture, said Jim Lentz, the CEO of Toyota North America: For all the industry’s focus on “e-mobility,” consumers aren’t ready to go along for the ride.

“It’s going to be a battle,” said Lentz, during a Tuesday appearance at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. “There’s not much growth.”

The one exception is Tesla, he pointed out, which sold nearly as many vehicles in 2018 as it did in all the years before that. But the Tesla Model 3, said Lentz, is the only nameplate currently generating more than 10,000 sales per month. And of the 94 “electrified” vehicles on the market – including hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles – only six top 2,000 a month.