According to The Wall Street Journal's (WSJ) Editorial Board, "progressive investors are seeking to oust Chairman Akio Toyoda and make the world's largest automaker disclose its climate-related lobbying."
Under Toyoda's leadership as CEO, the global automaker is thought to have lagged in the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). At issue is his opinion that EVs are "not the only way to achieve the world's carbon neutrality goals."
Toyota is known for its hybrids and plug-in hybrids that involve internal combustion engines that power on when the battery is low.
"They are cheaper than EVs," notes the Editorial Board, which calls itself a proponent of "free markets and free people."
Toyota did not respond to AFN's email seeking comment, but Dan Kish of the Institute for Energy Research says there is a long way to go in terms of EVs.
"[Toyoda's] absolutely right about hybrids," Kish submits.
He says they have "always made a certain amount of sense," but there is truth in Toyoda's position that those on the Left do not want to hear.
Meanwhile, Jack Spencer, senior research fellow for energy and environment policy at The Heritage Foundation, points out that the resources needed to manufacture EV batteries and EVs themselves are simply not available.
"We need far more mining, and the reality is that this administration is no friend of mining," he notes. "They don't want to open up mines, so the alternative is that we'll become more dependent on China even if we could get all of the materials necessary."
Additionally, Americans do not want to buy EVs.
"Despite many years of subsidies, despite many years of propaganda … about 5% of Americans currently own EVs," Spencer reports. "There's just no market for it, and that's why this administration's trying to strongarm both American citizens and American companies into purchasing and manufacturing the vehicles."
Earlier this month, ahead of this week's annual general meeting, two of the nation's largest pension systems – California Public Employees' Retirement System and the Office of the New York City Comptroller – voted against Toyoda's re-election and in support of a resolution urging Toyota to improve disclosure of its lobbying on climate change.