Toyota had long argued that limited driving range, high production costs and time consuming charging times would keep the EV ownership to a small segment of buyers. Fast forward to now and Toyota Motor Japan has now changed their direction in light of what governments in China, Europe, India and soon ASEAN consider new regulations mandating eco-friendly vehicles to stem harmful emissions and pollution.
Toyota expects a battery breakthrough to help it overcome some of the technological challenges, including energy density, cost and weight. Toyota aims to develop higher quality solid-state batteries as the market approaches 2020.
“Electrified vehicles, which are effective for economical consumption of fuel and promoting usage of alternative fuels, are indispensable in helping to solve current environmental issues,” Toyota said in a statement outlining the new strategy. “As a result, the number of models developed without an electrified version will be zero.”
Toyota added that it will also redouble its focus on creating an infrastructure conducive to widespread EV use. That includes battery recycling and charging stations.
In a sign of the new shift, Toyota said last September it would form a joint venture with Mazda Motor Corp. and supplier Denso Corp. to co-develop an architecture for EVs. Subaru and Suzuki are among other automakers that may join the project.
And earlier this month, Toyota agreed with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp. to jointly study development of high-performance batteries that can jumpstart EV demand.
Toyota’s entrance into EVs comes a month after the increased demand for electrification, autonomous driving, and connectivity is making headlines globally, Toyota said it faces a “now or never” competition “about surviving or dying” in the new era.