Toyota was in denial for many years, but finally the company surrendered to reality.
First, hybrid cars were the present and the future. Then hybrids were the present and fuel cell cars the future. More recently the company admitted that electric cars can make sense, but only as small range city cars. Soon after, the company said that it finally managed to make safe batteries with lithium cells required for electric cars. Amazing, such a difficult task for the world’s biggest automaker…
Now, according to Nikkei Asian Review:
“Toyota Motor intends to start mass-producing electric vehicles by 2020, hoping to expand its lineup of green automobiles beyond hybrid and fuel-cell cars.”
2020 seems to be the year that every automaker aims as the turning point when electric cars will surpass two major obstacles. By then electric cars will have more than 300 km range in real world driving and won’t cost more than a similar well equipped diesel car.
But why automakers say that 2020 is when the electric cars will become mainstream? The answer is regulation. In 2020, WLTP and RDE will completely replace NEDC in the European Union, as you can see it here.
Nikkei Asian Review, adds:
“Eyeing a full-scale entry into the electric vehicle market, the Japanese automaker will create an in-house team for planning and development as soon as the new year. Toyota will seek cooperation from group companies to start production quickly.”
“Toyota aims to develop an EV that can run more than 300km on a single charge. The platform for models such as the Prius hybrid or Corolla sedan is being considered for use in building an electric sport utility vehicle.”
Since Toyota already makes great hybrids – that are essentially very efficient ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars – the company has a good platform to make electric cars.
The Toyota Prius Prime EV would be a very efficient electric car since it’s very aerodynamic and lightweight, similar to the Hyundai IONIQ electric. A 50 kWh battery would be enough to give it a realistic 300 km range.
Toyota has three years to sell as much hybrids as it cans and the company knows it. Toyota is heavily advertising hybrids with discounts in Europe. Toyota hybrids are already cheaper than its diesel cars.
In 2020, with every automaker selling affordable and long range electric cars, hybrids will be less appealing than they are today.
What do you think? Are you surprised by Toyota’s change of strategy? Or did you already expected it since regulation demands it?