Toyota had long argued that limited driving range, high costs and slow charging times would relegate EVs to a niche segment. But Toyota has changed gears as governments in China, Europe, India and elsewhere 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. The carmaker says it aims to commercialize next-generation, solid-state batteries in the early 2020s.
“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 in 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 broad foray into EVs comes a month after it sounded a dire warning about the rapidly changing auto industry. Citing the crush of demands for electrification, autonomous driving, and connectivity, Toyota said it faces a “now or never” competition “about surviving or dying” in the new era.