By on December 18, 2017

Toyota logo dealership sign

Toyota, one of the original purveyors of hybrids, has recognized the need to juice its EV profile. Chevrolet, Nissan, and a bevy of other automakers already have an answer for customers looking to totally shun gas stations. Toyota does not.

The plan, unveiled Monday in Japan, calls for “more than ten” all-electric Toyota cars to be available worldwide by the early 2020s. This is quite a jump for a company that’s experienced in hybrids and PHEVs, but doesn’t currently offer a single example of EV technology here in America.

I had to re-confirm that detail to make sure it was correct. It is. Toyota is well known for its hybrid efforts – a 10-minute drive in L.A. proves that the Prius is outrageously popular in some markets, growing like wild kudzu on the roads – but it doesn’t have a true competitor for the Leaf or Bolt.

Toyota’s electrified vehicle strategy centers on a significant acceleration in the development and launch plans of hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).

Further to that goal, the company also expects to have an electrified version of every model in the Toyota and Lexus lineups by 2025.

This detail perks up my truck-loving ears, as that statement seemingly includes pickups and SUVs. Sure, “electrified” can simply mean a mild hybrid system and not a full-on PHEV drivetrain, but it sure seems like the next generation Tundra will be a lot greener than the existing model.

Toyota has plenty of options for customers looking to reduce their fuel bill, most of which can be found in the Prius line (ranging from a compact hybrid to the alarmingly styled Prius Prime plug-in). Purely electric choices are currently in short supply at your Toyota store, a situation that will be remedied by the plan announced today.

The company has pontificated for ages that the relatively scant range of an EV would assure that mode of transport’s relegation to the fringes. This announcement marks a change in tune, undoubtedly in response to government regulations in Europe, China, and other nations that favour zero-emissions vehicles. Seeing the sales numbers of their competitors surely plays a part as well.

In America, sales of EVs remain small, if nothing to totally sneeze at. Chevy has shifted more that 20,000 Bolts so far this year, while Nissan has moved about half that number despite a new model looming on the horizon. The stuck-up corporate behemoth that is Tesla does not follow the auto industry standard of monthly reporting, so it is impossible to tell how many of their EVs were delivered in 2017.

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15 Comments on “Shocking: Toyota Plans to Zap Nearly a Dozen EVs to Life by Early 2020s....”

  • avatar

    This will be the end of Tesla, if they manage to stay in business that long.

    Why? Because Toyota will be able to do this without descending into “production hell.” It’s what they (and all of the other major automakers) do, and do very well.

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota has dealer hell, charging infrastructure hell, and styling hell.

      • 0 avatar

        Toyota doesn’t own any dealerships, so how do they have an issues in that department?

        Since when is it up to the manufacturers to supply electricity or fuel to car owners?

        Styling is in the eye if the beholder and is subjective to every individual.

        • 0 avatar

          sgtmack; T

          Toyota not owning the dealerships is the problem. Lacking EV trained salespeople and possibly the will to sell the vehicles could be an issue. I’ve seen a lot of problems at Nissan Dealers firsthand.

          Without a charging network to match the supercharger network, long-distance travel will be difficult and it puts them at a competitive disadvantage.

          • 0 avatar

            A) People that want an electric car want an electric car and won’t be cross-sold into a pickup truck. It’s not like thinking you want a Corolla and ending up with a Camry. In addition, every time I go to buy any car I seem to know more about it than the sales person so no difference there. The dealers are more of a problem for the manufacturer wanting to meet their internal goals (Produce and sell X number of EV’s this year) rather than the buyer wanting to meet their goal (buy one EV today)

            B) Not everyone only has one car. Maybe some buyers will have two or more cars in their driveway, one being better suited to long distance travel with gasoline and the other being used for around town or the other 360 or so days of the year where 150-200 miles if range is more than enough for one day. Or a rental car is always an option, I believe it was actually espoused on these digital pages as a more cost-effective solution than using one’s own car if the trip is long-distance enough. The competitive disadvantage is neatly overcome by a cost of entry that is likely to be at least $10k and easily up to $20k or more less than the “supercharger” brand. In any case, I predict that soon enough Tesla will sell adapters and allow (for a fee) anyone to use their infrastructure in order to turn it into a (rare for them) profit center. Or (as in Europe), gas stations such as Shell will see the light and become “energy stations” instead.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Toyota will need a Gigafactory-sized production facility for batteries. They can’t just conjure them from thin air, or from Alibaba.

      Tesla’s Gigafactory has been under continuous construction since 2014, and is only a fraction of its target size. Toyota will need to at least match this, and soon, in order to produce what they’re describing.

      As a very conservative company, Toyota will have to go ‘all in’ to succeed with electrifying their fleet.

      Having said all that, I think everyone – including me – will be interested to see how they can do this profitably.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, seeing as how Toyota has a ventured deal with Mazda and now Panasonic, I don’t think the batteries are a big problem.

        • 0 avatar

          It’ll be interesting to see what the solid state battery manufacturing process is like. It might take up less space and be faster than current lithium technology. Then again, it might not. I really don’t know much about it. Newer lithium battery manufacturing processes are in early testing that will improve the manufacturing processes of the current lithium technology and increase production rates.

    • 0 avatar

      Uh, you know Tesla is more of a battery business than a car business right? Toyota will likely just buy batteries from Panasonic / Tesla than build their own.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      Musk is on record that it would be the preferred outcome. He’s didn’t enter the car-building business because he wanted to. He did it because hidebound, myopic execs at companies like Toyota were playing with pointless, worthless technologies like hydrogen or hybrids. If Toyota builds EVs as mainline cars, the problem is solved and Tesla does not need to exist anymore. Once they become profitable for mainstream carmakers, EVs will displace ICE-powered cars naturally. At least that is the plan Musk articulated on occasion.

  • avatar

    A lot of hybrid technology is licensed out. I wonder if Toyota will do the same for EV tech. There is always the not invented here syndrome.

    • 0 avatar

      Didn’t Tesla make their technology available to everyone?

      “Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal. Tesla will not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use our technology.”

  • avatar

    That’s good news!

    I’m up to 3 kids now, and am an EV/hybrid fan.

    An EV Sienna or Sequoia would be a perfect fit for my daily driving needs, and could be pretty good for my usual roadtrips if a few CCS fast chargers are installed in the right places (or if they make a deal with Tesla for supercharger access).

    I’m eagerly awaiting information on the 2020-ish Ford Transit EV, as well. That would be a nice fit for my needs as well — especially if we have a 4th kid.

    (I prefer vans over SUVs, but the EV drivetraine I’ve driven are nice enough to get me to compromise on sliding doors.)

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    Finally beginning to realize the futility of hydrogen.

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