Criticised as a laggard, Toyota Motor Corp today drastically accelerated its planned spending on battery-electric vehicle development, and increased its sales baseline accordingly.
President Akio Toyoda said today the world’s biggest carmaker plans to offer 30 battery-electric (BEV) models globally by 2030 in passenger and commercial segments. That’s beyond the 15 BEVs by 2025 it pledged earlier this year.
By the end of the presentation, Mr Toyoda was surrounded by a line-up of 16 BEV concept cars – more sizzle than steak, but a strong visual statement – wearing both Toyota and Lexus badges, and teasing its future showrooms.
The company said it now expects annual BEV sales of 3.5 million cars by 2030, equal to just over a third of its annual output on current numbers. That’s up from a two million target announced in May this year.
Mr Toyoda also said premium division Lexus would lead the charge, be entirely electric by 2035, and all BEV in Europe, North America, and China before 2030.
Global sales momentum and friendly government policies such as President Biden’s pledge for the USA to be 50 per cent electrified by 2030 had prompted Toyota to accelerate its response.
“As we saw those policies becoming clearer we have been thinking about our carbon neutrality initiatives. As we have sophisticated our plan we have come up with this number,” the company said.
Let’s not forget Tesla’s trillion-dollar cap, Rivian’s IPO, and Ford’s sellout success with the F-150 Lightning, plus an armada of new Chinese challengers like BYD and Nio all setting the scene.
To match the ramping up in output, Toyota will invest a further 500 billion yen ($6.2b) into “more-advanced, high-quality, and affordable batteries” by that time, taking its battery budget by decade’s end up to a smidgen under $25 billion.
That sum is but half of the overall 4 trillion yen ($49.4b) Toyota plans to plough into R&D specifically for electric cars by the end of the 2020s. This sum excludes hybrids and hydrogen vehicles, which will receive a claimed identical investment over the period.
“Reasonably priced mass-production [BEV] models to meet the needs of all kinds of customers”, Mr Toyoda said.
Later in the press conference he added: “Will we still be judged as backward looking?”
Toyota Australia is expected to launch its first EV, the bZ4X SUV, next year.