Tokyo: Toyota may have been a hybrid technology pioneer, but the Japanese carmaker was a relative latecomer to the market for fully electric cars. However, it seems the company has every intention of catching up. To show the world how serious it is, Toyota revealed 15 new electric car concepts on Tuesday.
This came with the announcement that Toyota plans to invest 8 trillion yen (about R1 trillion) in electrifying its range. This will result in 30 new battery-powered cars seeing light of day by 2030.
Included in this plan is a bakkie and the concept you see here is a battery-powered version of the full-sized Tundra pick-up, Toyota has confirmed to us.
But could this also hold some clues to the next Hilux? Toyota remains tight-lipped about its next one-tonner, but it is expected to see light of day before the middle of this decade, and it will almost certainly be electrified in one way or another, likely offering hybrid variants at first.
But back to the EVs, and as this spread of new concept cars show, Toyota intends to offer a diverse range of battery-powered models, which will join the recently launched bZ4X midsize SUV.
Also on the cards is a smaller SUV that appears to be based on the new Aygo X, as well as a rugged-looking compact 4x4 that appears to take inspiration from the FJ cruiser. A larger crossover SUV and a sedan will form part of the mix too.
There is much to look forward to on the Lexus front, with a battery-powered LF-A supercar successor, as well as new EV sedan and crossover models.
Toyota expects its annual BEVs sales to reach 3.5 million vehicles by the end of the decade, or around a third of its current vehicle sales. That is less than bigger rivals such as Volkswagen, which predicted in July that half its global vehicle sales would be battery-powered cars by that date.
Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo, Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda said his company was pursuing a multipronged, carbon-reduction strategy that also included hybrid cars and hydrogen-powered vehicles.
"We want to leave all people with a choice, and rather than where or what we will focus on, we will wait a little longer until we understand where the market is going," Toyoda said.
His company's plan to introduce a full line-up of 30 BEV's by 2030 goes beyond the 15 models Toyota earlier said it would have available by 2025.
In addition to electrified cars, Toyota is also developing internal combustion engines that run on hydrogen fuel. Toyoda said the technology could help to save some of Japan's 5.5 million automotive jobs by allowing the car company to keep supply chains that would disappear with a full shift to electric cars.
IOL Motoring & Reuters