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Toyota, which until now has largely steered clear of the EV market, has made an ambitious plan to launch 10 EV models in three years.
The world’s second-largest carmaker said it is targeting annual output of 1.5 million battery electric vehicles by 2026, Reuters reported today, adding that Toyota will also invest heftily in EV battery production.
The announcement follows a top executive shift that saw the long-time president and CEO Akio Toyoda step down as of April 1, replaced by the former head of the Lexus unit of the company, Koji Sato.
Yesterday, Reuters reported that Toyota was already working to build its proprietary EV manufacturing architecture, after a review of the company’s previous strategy, which focused on hybrid vehicles rather than full-battery electric vehicles.
“Cars in the future will evolve in the concept of mobility itself. Amid such, I hope to preserve the essential value of the car and propose new forms of mobility,” Toyota’s new CEO said in January as the top executive changes were first announced.
Two years before that, in 2021, Toyota promised it will only be selling zero-emission cars in Europe by 2035. Beyond that promise, little was done in the way of advancing all-electric models.
Sales of battery electric vehicles have been a minuscule part of Toyota’s total sales, which has caused concern among investors about the future of the company in the all-electric net-zero world envisioned by transition advocates.
The latest change in strategy, then, comes amid growing investor pressure for Toyota to make a more serious EV commitment and move away from hybrids. That’s despite arguments from the company that hybrids offer its customer base a greater choice.
The pressure itself is a product of consistent predictions that EV sales will be growing exponentially in all of the world’s top car markets, driven by pro-electrification government policies, notably financial incentives for carmakers and car buyers alike.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.