TOYOTA ELECTRIC CAR STRATEGY
Toyota forecasts that by the year 2050 there would be hardly any combustion powered vehicles left, down from the current 85% of car sales and that the market would consist of hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric and fuel cell vehicles. The Company’s roadmap includes cutting emissions from new vehicles by 22% from its 2010 level and 90% by 2050. To achieve this would mean the company has to sell around 7 million gas-electric hybrid vehicles by 2020.
It is no secret that the Company prefers the backing of fuel cell vehicles rather than committing to battery electric vehicles and therefore targets to sell at least 30,000 fuel-cell vehicles a year worldwide by around 2020. The Compay’s Mirai is the first fuel cell vehicle commercially produced.
The Japanese automaker announced that it would roll out a plug-in hybrid version of the Levin exclusively for the Chinese market by 2018 and a pure electric version of the Toyota C-HR in 2019. Production of trendsetting Prius stopped in 2015 with an upgraded version released in 2017.
TOYOTA EV MODELS
TOYOTA EV SALES
THE TOYOTA ELECTRIC CAR STRATEGY IN THE NEWS
Week 6 2018 - Toyota 2017 EV sales announced
Toyota announced that it sold 1.5 million electrified vehicles in 2017, up 8% from 2016. The figure is however misleading as only 51,000 is attributable to the Prius PHEV, the only EV according to our definition off electric vehicles. A further 2,700 units are attributed to the Mirai FCEV. Note the lack of pure electric EVs.
Week 3 2018 - Toyota buys into lithium mine
Toyota, which doesn’t see a significant change towards EV adoption in the next decade acquired a 15% stake in Australian lithium miner Orocobre for an approximate AUD292 million (USD232 million) through its subsidiary Toyota Tsusho. Toyota is not the first automaker to buy into lithium mining to secure supply. In 2017 the Chinese Great Wall Motors acquired a stake in another Australian lithium miner Pilbara Minerals.
Week 1 2018 - More automakers joins the Toyota/Mazda EV project
Week 46 2017 - Toyota clarifies EV strategy for China
Toyota also clarified its NEV plans for China this week. To date, the company only announced the introduction of two PHEV models for the Chinese market, namely the Corolla and Levin which is expected in 2018. In a press release this week Toyota announced that it would bring a new EV under its brand to China in 2020. It announced further that it would expand its Fuel Cell study in China to include commercial vehicles such as buses. Compared to Tesla, GM and VW’s plans Toyota’s seem very tame and summarises the claim by Toyota’s Chairman to German publication Der Spiegel this week. Mr. Takeshi Uchiyamada was quoted saying “Battery-powered cars with a long range are very expensive, and it takes a long time to charge them, such cars do not fit in our program.” He went further saying “Tesla is not our enemy and not our role model, I think it’s the German manufacturers that rather see Tesla as a competitor.”
Week 46 2017 - Suzuki and Toyota signs MOU for Indian market
Toyota and Suzuki this week signed a memorandum of understanding for the introduction of EVs into India. According to the MOU Suzuki will produce EVs for the Indian market and supply some to Toyota, while Toyota will provide technical support. The MOU is signed with the backdrop of the Indian Governments “Made in India” and aggressive EV programs.
2017 Week 44 - Toyota considering airless tires
Automotive News reported on Toyota’s Fine Comfort Ride concept first introduced at the Tokyo Auto Show earlier this month. According to the Japanese carmakers Chief Engineer, Takao Sato. The plastic-aluminum hub encircled by a rubber band could potentially shave off 30% (11 pounds) from a tire’s weight by 2025 on electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. Airless tires by Michelin and Bridgestone is already available in golf-carts, lawnmowers and construction equipment. Pricing is not expected to be the prohibitive factor as costs already compare with current tires. Overcoming rolling resistance (friction) is the biggest hurdle the company is expected to cross. The plastic-aluminum tires have a friction deficit of between 10 and 20% compared to existing pneumatic tires which is unacceptable for the drivetrain platforms needing every extra mile out of the power source such as EVs.
2017 Week 42 - Toyota at the Tokyo Auto Show
The Tokyo Auto Show will be hosted from the 27th of October to the 5th of November, and we can expect a bunch of combustion and electric concept vehicles from regional producers with the least amount of production electric vehicles. Hopefully, we will see an auto show in Japan in the near future brimming with production-ready electric vehicles, in the meantime here are some of the concept electric and autonomous vehicles which would be displayed at the 2017 event.
Toyota Concept Vehicles at the Tokyo Auto Show 2017
Toyota will display its vision for the future, the Concept-i Series, which includes the Concept-i four-wheel first showcased at the 2017 CES in Vegas. Toyota will introduce two more members of the Concept i-series family, the Concept-i RIDE city car, and the Concept-i WALK, an autonomous 3-wheeler which will lead to less walking and need for legs. In all fairness, Toyota identified the ride-sharing services at sightseeing spots as one of the potential uses for the i-WALK,
The Toyota Concept-i series combines technologies that “LEARN,” “PROTECT” and “INSPIRE” and aims to start roadtesting some of these elements in vehicles from 2020 onwards. All three vehicles are electrified with ranges of 300km, 150km, and 20km respectively.
2017 Week 41 - Toyota to test semi truck in LA
The much-anticipated reveal of Tesla‘s Semi truck this month has been pushed back to November 16 as the company refocusses on clearing bottlenecks in the Model 3 production. This is the second delay of the Semi which was supposed to be unveiled in September. According to a tweet by Elon, there are no issues with the Semi itself causing the delay. Although Elon is known for missing ambitious deadlines, he is forgiven as the result never disappoints.
As we wait for Tesla to finally unveil its electric truck other automakers this week also announced their intentions to bring alternative fuelled trucks to the market by 2020. In a press release, Toyota announced that it is starting testing its hydrogen fuel cell truck in Tesla’s backyard. The FCEV truck, known as “Project Portal” will be undergoing testing between the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach terminals and the surrounding rail yards and warehouses. The class 8 load truck generates more than 670 horsepower and 1,325 lb.ft of torque from a relatively small 12kWh battery and two Mirai fuel cell stacks. The concept’s gross combined weight capacity is 80,000 lbs., and its estimated driving range is more than 200 miles per fill, which would be the daily test distance at the LA Port.
Volkswagen also announced this week that it would invest €1.4 billion ($1.7 billion) in its truck and bus unit. The funding will go towards electric drive-trains, self-driving tech, and cloud-based systems. VW and its subsidiary, truck maker Navistar, aims to launch a medium-duty electric truck in the USA as early as 2019.
2017 Week 38 - Toyota will not focus onEVs as the primary new development
According to Automotive News Toyota confirmed its commitment to hybrid technologies, staying the course to keep electric vehicles as a sideline development.
2017 Week 30 - Toyota pursuing solid state battery technology
A Reuters report lifted the veil on Toyota’s electric vehicle plans further this week. The Reuters report claims the Japanese automaker is developing a new electric vehicle platform, based on solid-state battery technology to enter the market in 2022. The advantage of solid state battery technology is that it addresses range and charging shortcomings of current lithium technology. A solid-state battery can be charged in only a couple of minutes and has more storage capacity for longer range. Toyota, which has been lagging in the EV race is set to enter the EV market in China from 2019 with a mass market SUV based on the C-HR SUV. The C-HR EV will be developed using current lithium technology. Other automakers pursuing solid-state batteries includes BMW who has set a 10-year plan to bring solid-state EVs to market.
2017 Week 22 - Toyota confirms it sold its historical Tesla stake
Toyota confirmed this weekend that it divested from Tesla as it exited the co-operating agreement the companies had on electric vehicle technology. Toyota acquired 3.15% in Tesla in 2010 for $40.5 million, a stake which would have been worth $1.75 billion at Friday’s close. According to the Japan Times Toyota announced that the sale of the stake, which happened in trances between October 2014 and the end of 2016, is “a part of a regular review of business alliances.” The partnership resulted in the development of an electric Toyota RAV 4, which was abandoned as the company changed course away from EVs to hydrogen fuel cell technologies.
2017 Week 20 - Toyota still not fully behind electric vehicles
Toyota still has not completely put its full weight behind electric vehicles is it continues pursuing Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) technology. The Japanese automaker this week announced that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ten companies to jointly develop 300 HFC stations of the next 10 years in the country. Even though Toyota pioneered the first mass-market Plug-in Hybrid the company forsook the lead it had on the technology for a hydrogen future. Last year the company admitted that electric vehicles have some relevance by creating a new division to build its first pure electric vehicle. The CEO, Akio Toyoda personally took leadership of the division but the company has not changed its strategy away from the HFC path with it sees as the relevant technology from 2025. The HFC strategy is in conflict with most recent analysis which sees electric vehicles becoming the dominant technology from 2025, some forecasts this week even says it will completely replace combustion engines.
2017 Week 10 - i-Tril unveiled
Although light on new commercial electric vehicles the Geneva Motor Show this week offered some great eye candy in the form of new concept vehicles, which included:
- Italdesign and Airbus unveiled the world’s first ground and air passenger vehicle, the Pop.Up, also know as Vahana
- Toyota unveiled the i-Tril electric concept. (If somebody at Toyota can just please look at the meaning of the name in some cultures, I cringe every time I use it.)
- Bentley unveiled its EXP 12 Speed 6e electric concept car.
- Mercedes unveiled its Mercedes-AMG GT Concept vehicle.
Nissan announced the unveiling of the new version of its popular Leaf EV expected in September, with commercial sales shortly after that. The Leaf is expected to have a range of 200 miles and some autonomous driving ability through its ProPilot system.
2017 Week 8 - Geneva Auto Show Line-up
- Porsche will unveil a powerful Panamera E-Hybrid;
- The Chinese start-up Techrules will unveil its Supercar, the GT96;
- Toyota will reveal it’s I-Tril concept, speculated to be a three-wheel city vehicle; and
- Renault is said to reveal a new electric vehicle.
2016 Week 48 - Toyota change strategy on electric vehicles
More signs that Toyota its shifting strategy in favor of electric vehicle’s, away from its previous skepticism of the technology, emerged this week when Reuters reported that the automaker appointed its, President Akio Toyoda, who is also the grandson of its founder, to oversee the company’s newly formed electric vehicle division. Other personnel changes to the new unit include the chief engineer of the Prius, Koji Toyoshima, as the head of the units engineering team. Toyota’s strategy is to develop EV’s for short distance commute while developing hydrogen vehicles for longer distances.
2016 Week 44 - Toyota improve lithium battery
Reuters reported things might be changing at Toyota as the company announced that it cracked safety issues relate to the volatility of lithium-ion technology, signaling a change in the automaker’s aversion to the technology. Although being a trendsetter in the plug-in hybrid vehicle space with the Prius, the company has mainly pursued hydrogen as its preferred technology. Toyota made the breakthrough with its battery technology partner Panasonic and presented an opportunity for the carmaker to enter the electric vehicle market at this late stage.
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China’s 2018 batch of new EV models have some surprisingly good cars threatening Western automakers still grappling how to catch-up to the increased popularity of EVs. While big auto plans to bring new models to market in 2020 China is already pushing out large amounts of new EV models.