Toyota Unveils Electric Battery Strategy, Introduces New SUVs

An array of Toyota and Lexus EV concepts presented on stage in Tokyo in 2021
Enlarge / Toyota is playing catch-up with electric vehicles, but it has obviously been busy behind closed doors working on some ideas, as seen above.

Noriaki Mtsuhashi / N-RAK PHOTO AGENCY

Despite being a pioneer in hybrid cars, Toyota has failed to translate this knowledge and experience into a strong portfolio of battery-electric vehicles. Although the company worked with Tesla at the start of the last decade, it has recently started lobbying governments to water down decarbonization strategies rather than producing BEVs. But that seems to be about to change, at least when it comes to the company’s presentation of a more solid line of fully electrified products.

On Tuesday in Tokyo, the automaker held a briefing to discuss more details of its BEV plan. “Specifically, we plan to deploy 30 models of battery-electric vehicles by 2030, offering a full range of battery-electric vehicles globally in the passenger and commercial segments,” said Toyota President Akio Toyoda.

Toyota wants to sell 3.5 million BEVs per year by this date, and it has showcased a wide range of EV concepts, many of which are expected to appear as road versions over the next few years.

Toyota’s first modern BEV will be the bZ4x crossover, an electric alternative to its best-selling RAV4. Toyota will stick to the bZ brand – for Beyond Zero – for other BEVs, including a compact SUV and small crossover that Toyoda has described as “a small battery-powered EV with a comfortable interior designed for Europe and Japan”. Toyoda says the little BEV should have a range efficiency of 125 Wh / km (5 miles / kWh).

The presentation also didn’t offer any details about the little gold electric sports car concept seen lurking in the back. It’s called the Sports EV, and we’ll be asking Toyota more about it, including when we maybe get to test it.

This is the Lexus Sports Battery EV concept.
Enlarge / This is the Lexus Sports Battery EV concept.

Noriaki Mtsuhashi / N-RAK PHOTO AGENCY

Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus has not been forgotten either: like many other luxury car makers, it will go exclusively electric. The plan is for Lexus to be a fully BEV brand by 2030 in North America, Europe and China, with 100% of its global sales being BEVs within five years.

The first of these will be the RZ, an electric SUV that Toyoda (who runs in his spare time) can be seen driving with enthusiasm during a demonstration on the track. Toyoda is probably eagerly awaiting the arrival of Lexus’ Sports Battery EV, an electric replacement for the LFA supercar that will use solid-state batteries (as long as Lexus can run them).

Earlier this year, Toyota revealed that it will spend $ 13.6 billion on batteries by 2030. $ 3.4 billion will go to North American BEV batteries, and last week the automaker announced that ‘He would build a $ 1.3 billion battery factory in North Carolina. . Called Greensboro-Randolph Megasite, this plant will be operational in 2025, creating 1,750 new jobs and producing enough batteries for 1.2 million vehicles per year once all six production lines are in operation.

Another look at the range of Toyota and Lexus BEVs in development.
Enlarge / Another look at the range of Toyota and Lexus BEVs in development.

Noriaki Mtsuhashi / N-RAK PHOTO AGENCY

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