Toyota Takes More Aggressive BEV Stance

Toyota will launch 10 new BEV models on the global market in the next three years, the automaker said ahead of its Good Friday “New Management and Direction Announcement”.

The move, to launch the models by 2026, sparks speculation that the group may be taking a more aggressive stance on the technology seen, until now, as secondary to its core hybrid powertrain strategy. It also says it will also set up a dedicated unit to focus on next-generation BEVs.

New chief executive Koji Sato said Toyota would speed up production of BEVs but added that hybrids would remain an important pillar of its business. “In the next few years we will expand our line-up in the important battery electric category,” he said, adding the company would take a “practical approach” to popularizing electrified cars that included hybrids. Toyota said it is targeting annual production of 1.5M battery-powered cars by 2026.

However, in a clear allusion to Germany’s success in scrapping the European Union’s proposed ICE ban for new vehicles from 2025, Sato stressed: “Furthermore, we will work with the engine industry to develop technologies for carbon neutral fuels.”

It is also clear that the company sees its core powertrain technology still remains with hybrid vehicles at least in the short to medium term. He said: “When it comes to car manufacturing, we will continue to pursue a variety of options based on a multi-pathway solution to stay close to the future of energy and the condition of each region.

“First, we will thoroughly implement electrification, which we can do immediately. To steadily reduce CO2 emissions from where it is now, we will promote in a practical manner the popularization of electrified vehicles. We will strengthen sales of hybrid vehicles, especially in emerging markets, and increase the number of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle options.”

Neither is Toyota shelving its future plans for mass adoption of hydrogen powertrains. Sato explained: “We will also accelerate projects for the realization of the hydrogen society that lies just beyond. With partners across the industries and countries, we will advance expansion of the realm of using hydrogen by such means as social implementation in Thailand and at Fukushima, the mass production of hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and the development of hydrogen engine technologies in the area of motorsports.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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