The Current

Toyota phasing out gas engines by 2050 not realistic, says critic

Japanese automaker Toyota has a bold ambition: going gasoline-free... or nearly, by the year 2050 with its engines. Not everyone is convinced this is realistic but many feel it's time for a change in the auto industry.
Toyota Motor's fuel cell vehicle Mirai is displayed at an exhibition in Tokyo. The company plans to phase out nearly all gas powered engines by 2050... producing instead hybrid-electric or pure electric vehicles. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)
'"You may think 35 years is a long time. But for an automaker to envision all combustion engines as gone is pretty extraordinary."- Kiyotaka Ise, Toyota senior managing officer

This week, Toyota announced an ambitious new goal to reduce emissions from new vehicles by a whopping 90 per cent over the next 35 years. The company says that by the year 2050, it hopes to phase out nearly all gas powered engines.... producing instead hybrid-electric or pure electric vehicles. 

Of course, the bold Toyota pronouncement comes at an interesting time for the auto industry, quick on the heels of Volkswagen's admission that its clean diesel engines weren't actually as clean as it claimed.

Today we wanted to take a look at the idea of going gas-free.... or very nearly gas-free by 2050 and ask whether it's a realistic goal.

Catherine Potvin says announcements like Toyota's could go a long way in making countries like Canada more sustainable. She is a McGill University professor and the Canada Research Chair in Climate Change Mitigation and Tropical Forests, as well as Chair of the Sustainable Canada Dialogues.

This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien, Pacinthe Mattar and Leif Zapf-Gilje.