In what amounts to nothing short of a massive U-turn, Toyota now appears to be going all-in with all-electric vehicles. It’s not long ago the Japanese automaker dropped its electric RAV4 and stated it didn’t see any place in its lineup for all-electric vehicles, and would instead concentrate on hybrids and continue to develop hydrogen fuel-cell technology.
Now the company has revealed it is planning to sell as many as 5.5-million electrified vehicles per year, including 1-million zero-emission EVs, by the year 2030.
In an even greater revision of its strategy, Toyota has also said it will be offering 10 all-electric models around the world by as soon as the early 2020s. The manufacturer already announced a tie-up last week with Panasonic to co-develop and supply batteries. But this new, large-scale ramping up of its commitment to electrification of its vehicle range could mean Toyota has to look beyond that partnership to satisfy its hugely greater requirement for batteries.
To be fair to the world’s second-largest vehicle manufacturer by sales, Toyota isn’t trying to spin this new change of direction as anything other than a new plan. At a briefing in Tokyo on Monday, Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi admitted, “As a mass-market automaker, we need to expand our offering of electric cars.” Terashi went on to add that his company would initially introduce pure-battery models in the important Chinese market, and would then expend them into Japan, India, the United States and Europe.
The supply of batteries for EVs and hybrids is a serious challenge on the horizon, not just for Toyota and its new enthusiasm for electric vehicles, but for the industry as a whole. Porsche already has problems sourcing enough batteries to meet demand for its hybrid Panamera models, so more mass-market manufacturers like Toyota producing ever-greater numbers of electrified vehicles is only going to exacerbate the problem. – AFP Relaxnews