Toyota President Akio Toyoda has been critical of plans to promote electric vehicles by states like California and New York, which have or are in the process of passing legislation to ban or extremely limit the sale of vehicles equipped with internal-combustion engines.

"Realistically speaking, it seems rather difficult to really achieve them," Toyoda said last week during a press conference.

He added that a potential national goal of 50% of sales to be EVs or plug-in hybrids by 2030 proposed by the Biden Administration would be “very difficult.”

His reasoning was the impact on the electrical grid if everyone started swapping to plug-in cars. He also mentioned the lack of adequate charging infrastructure.

At a separate meeting with dealers a day earlier, Toyoda likened EVs to self-driving cars, stating that mainstream EV adoption will take longer than what the media makes it out to seem, according to Reuters.

It's not the first time Toyoda has been critical of moves to oust the internal-combustion engine. In 2020, he questioned the rush to ban vehicles with internal-combustion engines while speaking during a Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association press conference, where he also said there was too much hype surrounding EVs. Around the same time, he also described Tesla as being like a chef with some recipes but not a viable restaurant.

Despite having dragged its feet in the past when it comes to EVs, preferring instead to focus on hybrids, Toyota is now readying one of the most ambitious EV programs in the industry. The automaker last December announced plans to launch 30 EVs across its Toyota and Lexus brands by 2030, the first of which have already arrived in the form of the 2023 Toyota BZ4X and related 2023 Lexus RZ.

Toyota is also investing in battery production for EVs, including here in the U.S.

In his meeting with dealers, Toyoda said his strategy is to offer buyers a choice of powertrain.

"Playing to win means playing with all the cards in the deck, not just a select few,” he said. “So that’s our strategy and we’re sticking to it."