Toyota announced that it is accelerating its electric vehicle plans by 5 years and partnering with new battery makers to secure supply as it unveiled images of upcoming all-electric cars.
However, the automaker’s electrification plan is still heavily focused on hybrids instead of all-electric vehicles.
During a briefing with the press this week, Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said that the automaker plans for half of its global sales to be electrified vehicles by 2025 – 5 years ahead of previous plans.
Some automakers refer to “electrified vehicles” when talking about electric vehicle plans and they are generally using the term to talk about the mix of hybrid (HEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), and all-electric (BEV) vehicles.
Historically, Toyota has looked down on all-electric vehicles and been focusing on hybrids.
Terashi’s talk was titled “Aiming to Popularize BEVs”, but it was clear that the Japanese automaker is still focused on hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.
“We haven’t changed our policy towards battery EVs. We are not shifting our focus to prioritise battery EVs, nor are we abandoning our FCV strategy.”
Nonetheless, he showed a willingness for Toyota to invest more in battery-electric vehicles.
Battery-electric vehicles require more batteries per vehicle and therefore, they are going to secure more supply.
The automaker announced that it is partnering with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) and BYD in order to do that.
“We consider ourselves as a maker of electric vehicle batteries, going back to when we developed the battery for the Prius. But there may be a gap between the amount of batteries we can produce, and the amount of batteries we may need.”
Partnering with two Chinese battery makers is not a coincidence. Toyota anticipates that much of its BEV sales will be coming from China, which has implemented stronger regulations to encourage electric car sales.
During the presentation, they unveiled new short-range all-electric vehicles:
Also, Toyota unveiled images of all-electric vehicles that the automaker says will be for “global deployement”:
The Japenese automaker has been previously talking about launching its first all-electric vehicle in 2020.
Here’s Terashi’s full presentation:
Clearly, Toyota is still entrenched in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles, which the automaker sees as long term solutions.
I think they are wrong and all-electric vehicles offer a more complete solution, but it looks like they are moving in that direction too – albeit slowly and reluctantly.
I am curious to see Toyota’s first all-electric car. it will be interesting to see if, through the development process, they start convincing themselves that this is actually the future of the industry.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
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