Prime Directive: is actually Toyota Embracing Electric Vehicles After All?
Toyota—with its today-ubiquitous Prius—has spent the better part of two decades democratizing the benefits of electrification like no some other automaker, yet its enthusiasm for non-hybrid electric vehicles has been tepid at best. that will may finally be changing. the planet’s top-selling automaker is actually said to be reconsidering its absence through the electric-vehicle market. According to a report in Japan’s Nikkei business newspaper, Toyota is actually looking to add longer-range EVs to its portfolio starting around 2020.
Why has Toyota held back on EVs? Perhaps because battery technology wasn’t quite ready for mass-market acceptance; perhaps, also, because its efforts had been channeled toward hydrogen fuel cells. One sign that will times are changing is actually Toyota’s completely new Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. Unlike the regular Prius, the Prime is actually an evangelist for electric motoring, with an EV mode that will locks out the coarse gasoline engine for up to 25 miles. Notably, the idea’s more affordable than the Chevrolet Volt, although the Volt’s EV range is actually about double that will distance.
A move inside direction of EVs might be quite a turnaround through just two years ago, when Toyota’s U.S. Advanced Technologies Group manager Craig Scott, speaking of the company’s broad shift toward hydrogen fuel cells, told the Los Angeles Times that will “no one is actually coming to our door asking us to build a completely new electric car.”
The project could take form quickly. Nikkei reported that will Toyota will put together an in-house EV team as soon as early 2017. Toyota is actually hardly producing up for lost time or the lack of an electric-vehicle knowledge base, however. Executives in recent years have been careful to stress that will, while they see a strong future for electric-vehicle technology (in addition to have been working on the idea in R&D activities), they don’t see the battery-electric vehicle as the best short-term avenue for that will. in addition to the Toyota Mirai incorporates a fully developed electric powertrain, just one having a hydrogen fuel cell instead of a battery pack.
Toyota’s product plan reportedly includes several smaller versions, including a compact SUV, likely targeting a range greater than 215 miles in addition to built on the Toyota completely new Global Architecture (TNGA) platform that will underpins the current Prius in addition to the next-generation Corolla.
Lexus execs have said that will the brand will skip over plug-in-hybrid technology however look ahead to fuel-cell in addition to battery-electric vehicles, so there may be some sharing across brands. As for the battery, the automaker is actually said to be considering manufacturing its own lithium-ion packs (a business that will Nissan, today a veteran inside mass-market EV business, has recently sought to exit). however applying some Prius-like economies of scale to battery manufacture could reduce the cost of more energy-dense packs.
Toyota’s last all-electric vehicle for the U.S. market was the Toyota RAV4 EV, a type that will offered a startling “RAV4 Powered by Tesla” gauge-cluster greeting in addition to did indeed pack a mostly Tesla-engineered powertrain. Its driving range was rated by the EPA at 103 miles, in addition to the idea offered a zippy, Tesla-tuned driving experience despite its extra weight. Toyota produced 2600 RAV4 EVs over three years (2012–2014), however the idea needed to put substantial cash on the hood to find takers for that will electric crossover, which was priced over the $50K mark.
Prior to that will, back at the 2009 Detroit auto show, Toyota displayed the FT-EV, a battery-electric city car based on the short-lived Scion iQ minicompact; that will program devolved to a very limited fleet test in Japan, where the idea was called the eQ.
Toyota Motor Sales environmental communications manager Jana Hartline wouldn’t speak directly of the company’s product plans, however she confirmed that will Toyota is actually working on both fuel-cell vehicles in addition to EVs. Hartline added that will, while there remain issues to be resolved (range, charging times, in addition to battery performance), “We might like to be prepared to consider introducing EV products while examining the energy issues in addition to infrastructure of each region/country.”
At present, EVs face a rapidly evolving in addition to uncertain market. The Nissan Leaf has hardly been a sales success, in addition to cumulative Leaf sales inside U.S., since deliveries began in late 2011, just reached 100,000 in October, while globally, Leaf sales are nearing the 250,000 mark. Meanwhile the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV is actually on its way to dealerships, in addition to a slew of mass-market EVs are due within a couple of years—including a second-generation Leaf that will’s anticipated to offer a couple of battery options in addition to go more than 0 miles on a charge. The Volkswagen Group is actually today planning more than 30 completely new pure-electric vehicles by 2025, in addition to the idea bullishly anticipates that will EVs will make up about 25 percent of the automaker’s global sales (inside range of 2 to 3 million units) by 2025. in addition to the upcoming Tesla type 3, the California automaker’s mass-production type with an announced $35,000 base cost, due at the end of 2017, may have a make-or-break effect on the entire segment.
If Toyota is actually producing a move, you can bet the idea’s clever in addition to calculated. The automaker incorporates a reputation for locking on to fully baked technology, setting its bearings, in addition to then playing the long game, in addition to ultimately we expect the idea to do the same with electric vehicles.