It’s no secret that Toyota has been pushing the automotive world closer and closer towards electric vehicles and away from fossil fuels. After all, it was the Toyota Prius line-up that first truly demonstrated the widespread application of hybrids, and they’ve even made the Mirai Hydron Fuel Cell available in the UK.
So, all in all, we’re not surprised to hear that Toyota are set to launch 10 electric vehicles by the early 2020s.
Their electrification plans are indeed ambitious, but they come at a time when manufacturers throughout the industry are making similar claims. Toyota are currently predicting 5.5m electrified sales annually by 2030, and, together with luxury-arm Lexus, they’ve announced the 10 electric vehicle goal. We’ve also heard about plans to introduce hybrid, plug-in hybrid, pure electric, and fuel-cell hydrogen powertrains across various models. Interestingly, this is the same target as the Volkswagen Group, Toyota’s main global competitor.
So, how is this going to affect the way Toyota does business? Well, they sold 10.2m vehicles during 2016, so they’d have to shift half of all sales to electric models to reach their goal. Toyota will start its push towards pure electric vehicle sales in China before a “gradual introduction” across Japan, India, US and Europe. R&D chief Kiyotaka Ise reported at the Tokyo motor show in October that a family of electric cars would start rolling out from 2020.
It’s not a purely eco-friendly move. In fact, Toyota has reportedly been forced by the Chinese government to set such a high quota.
Toyota has also confirmed plans to commercialise solid-state batteries by the time the early 2020s roll around. Volkswagen and Volvo have hinted that they won’t be attempting that move until at least 2020, which could give Toyota a significant edge – the solid-state battery will eventually replace the lithium-ion batteries used today, and that’s expected to be a real gamechanger when it comes to electric vehicle range.
In the meantime, Toyota has been working with Panasonic to create the best prismatic battery in the automotive industry. They’re a little like the battery cells used in your smartphone, and could lead to radical cost and weight savings. If electrification doesn’t take off, Toyota will still be in a good position – they’ve confirmed an expansion of the fuel-cell line-up beyond the Mirai for both passenger and commercial vehicles.Back to news listing