Given its long experience with hybrid cars, you might be surprised to learn that Toyota has come for more than a few criticisms from environmental watchdogs in recent months.
While most major automakers have committed to becoming fully electric car makers by the end of the decade (or even sooner in some cases), Toyota so far doesn’t have a single electric model of its own on sale, and has only offered one production-ready EV. bZ4X next year (Lexus has the EV on sale, but the only one – the UX300e).
In fact, an influential transportation and environment environmental think tank recently criticized Toyota for its reliance on « polluting hybrid technologies » to meet its carbon emissions commitments, reprimanding it for not setting an ambitious target for electric vehicle sales for 2030.
Today, all of that may have changed. At an event in Tokyo, Toyota President Akio Toyoda showcased no fewer than 15 new electric models—some of which are production-ready, like the bZ4X and Lexus RZ, and other concept versions of future products—and that’s only half of the planned total.
Between the two brands – Toyota and Lexus – the Japanese giant now says it will offer about 30 all-electric models between now and 2030. Its plans for zero-emissions car sales by that date have ballooned from 2 million to 3.5 million, and it will invest 13 billion euros in battery technology new.
As part of the plan, some of those zero-emissions cars will be powered by hydrogen, rather than batteries. Toyota still believes we’ll need more than just battery power to achieve zero emissions from cars, and it’s one of the few automakers that can actually invest in both areas of technology. “We live in a diverse world and in an age where the future is hard to predict.
Therefore, it is difficult to please everyone with a one-size-fits-all option. That’s why Toyota wants to create as many options as possible for our customers around the world. We believe that all electrified vehicles can be divided into two categories, depending on the energy they use. One such category is the « Carbon Reducing Compounds » category.
If the energy that powers the vehicles is unclean, the use of an electrified vehicle, regardless of type, will not result in zero CO2 emissions. The other category is the « carbon neutral compounds » category. Vehicles in this category run on clean energy and emit no CO2 emissions in the entire process of their use. “We at Toyota will do everything we can to achieve such vehicles,” Toyoda said.
The model cars on display cover a large area of the models. At the smaller end, there’s an Aygo-X compact urban crossover, and a pair of small city vehicles, in the mold of a Citroen Ami—one a passenger car, the other a pickup truck.
The lineup spans across the expected plethora of crossovers and SUVs, along with a Camry-sized four-door saloon, a retro-looking SUV that draws cues from the classic ’70s Land Cruiser ‘FJ’ series of cars, and a massive pickup. HiLux is like a truck.
What is even more interesting is that there are two explicit mathematical models. The elegant Lexus Coupe, which could be a replacement for the current LC Coupe, or perhaps the previous explosive LF-A supercar – which Lexus claims has a two-second 0-100 km/h acceleration and 700 km range – and what appears to be a mid-engine sports car, Which could be a hint of what the next generation of Supra will look like.
There are more concerns at play than just sports cars. Toyoda has been keen to develop the company’s plans for carbon neutrality. “When it comes to natural resources, Toyota Tsusho started conducting lithium and other surveys as early as 2006 and has been working to secure stable sources. And in the energy field, Toyota Tsusho has been securing renewables such as wind and solar power generation for more than 30 years.”
Furthermore, in factories, we aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 by making continuous improvements towards reducing energy use and expanding the use of innovative production engineering technology. In this diverse and unknown age, it is important to flexibly change the type and quantity of products produced while keeping an eye on market trends.
Energy plays an important role in achieving carbon neutrality. This is exactly why Toyota is committed to providing a variety of carbon-neutral options to meet whatever needs and situations may be in every country and region. It is not us but the local markets and our customers who decide the options we choose.
“As to why we should try to keep many options, in terms of running a business, one might think that it would be better to focus on fewer options. However, we believe that quickly adapting to changes in the future is more important than trying to predict the future, which is not This is why we want to keep the options available to our clients until the right path is clear.”
Toyota’s electric vehicle plans will begin to reach customers when the electric bZ4X goes on sale next year.
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