Still Hesitant on EVs, Toyota Readies a Limited Product Surge

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
still hesitant on evs toyota readies a limited product surge

With two decades of hybrid technology development under its belt, Toyota and its premium division, Lexus, plan to spread the electrified goodness to every model in the stable — a goal it’s already made considerable headway towards. And yet, while hybrids will remain the backbone of Toyota’s green fleet, it can no longer avoid keeping its lineup EV-free.

With the unveiling of a new Lexus electric planned for the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, it now seems that model will be the first of three.

Britain’s Autocar has confirmed that Toyota has three electric vehicle introductions planned over the next two years. The first is said to be a small city car designed with the European and Asian markets in mind; Lexus teased a make-your-own-assumptions image in advance of this month’s show. Notice the new take on the division’s spindle grille design.

This first EV from Toyota will serve as a showcase of the tech you’ll find on future gas-less models. Lexus chief Koji Sato previously told the publication that in-wheel electric motors are under development, allowing each wheel to modulate power independent of the other wheels. It’s a solid hint that all-wheel drive will play a big role in the brand’s electrified future.

These first three models are just the beginning. Eventually, Toyota and Lexus plan to field 10 EVs, though some of these will arise from a Subaru tie-up that’s just getting off the ground. A joint EV platform and the vehicles — larger, utility-minded vehicles, by the sounds of it — built off this architecture will take a few years to come to fruition.

Toyota’s partnership with Subaru will help the automaker reduce the lofty development costs that weigh heavily against any decision to enter the EV field alone. Indeed, costs are at the core of Toyota’s decision to lag behind other automakers in this realm.

Claiming that conventional hybrids remain the brand’s best bet for fleetwide emissions reductions and MPG gains, deputy chief engineer Naohisa Hatta told Autocar, “We already have the [EV] technology. We’re waiting for the right time.”

He added, “It has to make business sense. It has to make profit. If you look at the facts of what’s happening in the market now: for example, PHEV technology is reflected in the [vehicle] price. If we are going to have an EV in the line-up it has to be affordable to normal users.”

The Tokyo Motor Show kicks off on Oct. 23.

[Image: Lexus]

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  • Zipper69 How much of a bite of the market has the BRONCO taken?The "old technology" of the Cherokee can't compete...
  • JMII So this pretty much confirms the long standing rumor that the C8 platform was designed for hybrid AWD support. If this is even faster then the current Z06 it will be a true rocket ship. GM was already hinting that even more impressive C8 was coming, most assume a turbo ZR1 but an e-assist AWD package seems more like... and apparently it will be called E-Ray.
  • Tassos the announcement is unnecessarily verbose, aka full of it. Most 'justifications" for the shutdown are shameless lies.
  • Jwee I can post images...?????
  • Jwee @Bobby D'OppoThere is no element of the reported plan that involves taking people's carsSeems like you missed the Southpark reference: comment was humor (or humour if you prefer). The city council is not literally taking people's cars, but seems like they wouldn't mind a drop in car ownership. More cyclists! Less pollution! More public transport! A £70 fine per violation! Surely if they came out and said "we are going to take your car", they would get a very stern letter written to them in the strongest language possible, or perhaps even called a bunch of rotters. I am all for good transport networks, but this is just a terrible plan. Visit Amsterdam, and study how to manage traffic skillfully in a dense, medieval city, with no traffic cameras whatsoever, with first rate public transport, where pedestrians, bikes, boats and cars coexist.