Hello and welcome to your daily Charge Smart blog! Today, we will be talking about Toyota's 180 degree turn on their stance on EVs.
Toyota, NZ’s largest car brand has largely ignored EVs for the last few years. Choosing to demonstrate their low emission abilities through their hybrid cars like infamous Prius, Camry and Lexus cars among others. They’ve also worked on a Hydrogen fuel cell car, the Mirai because so far they have believed that the future of vehicles will need two types of energy sources. One of which they predict is Hydrogen and the other… They aren’t quite sure about that other! That's why it is surprising to see Toyota's newfound stance on EVs.
Above: The Prius, Toyota's pioneer of hybrid technology
Toyota have recently announced that they will now, not only create pure EVs for themselves but also for other Japanese brands for which it has tech agreements with. These include Subaru, Suzuki and Mazda. So far, Toyota and Subaru have unveiled a platform for a medium/large EV SUV. Their new platform can also be used in small hatchbacks to large utility vehicles like their range of SUVs and utes. Toyota are also working on an advanced ‘next generation’ battery for their new EVs. Their EV project has started off through a joint venture with Subaru where they will develop an electric crossover together and then create blueprints for a midsize and large SUVs. It’s another BRZ/GT86 project where the two companies will each sell what is essentially the same car but under different brands. So far, the United States has been identified as Toyota’s biggest target and their new EV crossover is meant to go on sale early next year. Subaru have a strong reputation in NZ so we could possibly see this pure EV crossover in the Subaru form. The new EV platform can be used across several different car categories like large and medium SUVs, medium crossovers, medium vans and medium sedans. So one can expect a lot of new EVs from Subaru and Toyota over the next few years, both of whom have strong brand values in New Zealand. Toyota has been suffering in NZ because of the lack of EVs in their range. The only model of theirs that is recognized as an EV is the Prius Prime PHEV, all the other cars from Lexus and Toyota are then open to being overlooked when companies are looking to add pure EVs to their commercial fleets.
Above: Toyota's EV SUV platform on display
Toyota are also working alongside Daihatsu and Suzuki to develop a pure EV small hatchback.
Toyota’s grand plan with these partnerships according to their chief engineers works like a radio-controlled car. Where the companies produce batteries, motors, chassis’ which can then be mixed in all sorts of combinations to create many different EV models. These individual parts work as building blocks and they are advantageous because it allows Toyota to create cars with front wheel drive, rear wheel drive and all wheel drive systems which can then be fitted to cars of all sizes and possibly utes. The batteries will range from 50kWhr to 100kWhr and the motors used will range from 80 to 150 Kilowatts of power. The smaller EVs are predicted to have a rather impressive range of 300 kilometres while the larger vehicles will have a range of nearly double that!
What has brought about this change in Toyota you might ask? Well, they’ve seen the “sudden surge” in EV popularity all around the world because of government incentives in China and in Europe along with increasingly strict emission regulations. Toyota have been viewing EVs as an “unnecessary step” to bridging the gap between petrol hybrids and Hydrogen fuel cell cars which Toyota consider the way of the future. As we outlined in a previous podcast, the infrastructure for hydrogen is just not there yet and they’ve been talking about it for longer than EVs! Seeing that Hydrogen really hasn’t taken off in the way that Toyota would have wanted it to. That has forced the Japanese giant to reconsider their stance on the issue. Toyota have gone on to set themselves a target of selling 5.5 million battery hybrid vehicles by 2025, they estimate that nearly 1 million of these vehicles could be pure EVs. The company are also planning to unveil a solid-state battery before the Tokyo Summer Olympics this year, a battery that they believe could make EVs lighter, more powerful and safer, a feasible mainstream option in other words.
Above: Toyota's 2 seater smart mobility EVs
The Japanese giant will start production of it’s C-HR EV this year in China which will be the first of 10 EVs that they are planning to launch over the next few years. Their eventual aim is to have an electrified version of every model in their Toyota and Lexus brands by 2025. An ambitious goal nonetheless. Toyota are calling their new EV platform the e-TNGA, an electrified version of their current Toyota New Global Architecture platform which they use in the Corolla, Camry and RAV4 models.