Toyota Pushing For Mass-Market EV Production By 2020
The automotive giant has awokenby Kirby, on
Once lukewarm to the idea of fully electric vehicles, automotive giant Toyota is now making a dramatic about-face with plans to not only enter the EV market, but to go all-in on zero-emissions vehicles beyond what it has already done with hybrid and fuel cell models.
Toyota’s shift from a non-believer in EVs to aggressively pushing to mass-produce electric cars in 2020 is the latest indication of the growing importance of zero-emissions cars and the urgency among automakers to develop these cars at the soonest possible time. Given it’s size and influence, Toyota isn’t messing around with its stated timetable; it’s eyeing a full-scale entry into the electric car market and it’s putting the pieces in place to accomplish that goal. According to Nikkei, the Japanese automaker is in the process of creating an in-house team as early as 2017 to plan for and develop the company’s all-encompassing EV strategy moving forward. There’s even talk that Toyota is looking at an “all hands on deck” approach from its group companies in order to expedite the production process of these models and get them ready for 2020.
Specific details about the first EV model have yet to be released, but the goal is to get it to run with at least 186 miles of range on a single charge. How it plans to achieve that is still up in the air, but the automaker is doubling down on the development of the batteries and it has the capacity to do so, thanks in large part to its new battery material research department that it created earlier this year. There’s also the possibility that the company could outsource these batteries to help keep costs down, a move that other automakers are doing themselves. Either way, the number Toyota is aiming for compares favorably to what existing EV models are capable of and it’s on par with Renault’s Z.E. 40 battery-powered Zoe EV that it introduced at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.
Whatever steps it takes to accomplish its goal of mass-producing EVs by 2020, it’s clear that Toyota is now fully committed to developing its own lineup of electric cars. That philosophical shift alone should resonate to the entire auto industry. Toyota is gearing up for an EV assault by 2020. Get ready.
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The entire auto industry has now been put on notice
It’s one thing for the this automaker or that automaker to announce its intention to jump into the EV craze, it’s another thing entirely for the world’s largest automaker – or second largest automaker depending on the criteria – to get in on the fun as well. That’s essentially what Toyota announced with laid out its plan to mass-produce electric vehicles by 2020.
This is big news, not only because it’s Toyota, but because it’s Toyota, the very same company that previously shunned electric vehicles in favor of hybrids and fuel cell models. It’s also the same Toyota that has already dabbled in the world of EVs – two generations of the RAV4 EV – but has yet to fully commit to it, until now.
Considering how big the company is and how deep its pockets are, its decision to fully invest in the EV market is a full-fledged shot to all other automakers who are venturing into the same waters. In effect, it’s telling everyone that they better be on their A games with the development of their own EVs, because Toyota, one of the three giants of the automotive world, is joining in on the party.
Only time will tell if Toyota will be able to meet its set timetable, but with major markets like China and the U.S. opening themselves up and embracing electric vehicles like never before, you can be sure that the Japanese auto giant is itching to take a big slice of those markets for itself.
Read our full review on the Toyota RAV4 EV here.