By on October 15, 2019

Image: Lexus

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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