EV boosters are hopeful that Toyota’s new CEO Koji Sato will preside over a brand new period on the world’s second-largest automaker, remodeling the electrification laggard into a pacesetter.
In a current “New Administration Coverage & Route Announcement,” three of Toyota’s prime execs assured us that the corporate is severe about electrification, but additionally reaffirmed a dedication to a “multi-pathway answer,” by which hybrids and hydrogen will play main roles.
“We are going to totally implement electrification, which we are able to do instantly,” mentioned new President and CEO Koji Sato. “To steadily scale back CO2 emissions…we’ll promote the sensible popularization of electrified automobiles. We are going to strengthen gross sales of hybrid electrical automobiles, together with in rising markets, and improve the variety of plug-in hybrid electrical car choices. We are going to broaden our lineup of battery electrical automobiles, or BEVs, which signify one vital possibility, over the following a number of years. And we may even speed up initiatives for the conclusion of the hydrogen society that lies simply past.”
It’s vital to know that, to Toyota, “electrification” contains hybrids and hydrogen automobiles. The best way we parse the execs’ statements, what they’re speaking about is a gradual shift, not a revolution (to be honest, this imaginative and prescient of a gradual and orderly transition appears to be the prevailing view in most automakers’ government suites).
The execs are actually speaking about pure EVs—of their statements, the phrase “battery” was used 18 occasions, and “BEV” occurred 13 occasions. In the meantime, “hybrid” was talked about 11 occasions, and “hydrogen” reared its head 8 occasions.
And sure, they do intend to take motion. Govt Vice President Hiroki Nakajima, who shall be in command of merchandise, introduced that Toyota plans to launch ten new BEVs by 2026, and these are anticipated to ship 1.5 million items of annual gross sales. The corporate additionally plans to launch “next-generation BEVs” with double the driving vary of at present’s fashions.
Maybe the most important information merchandise within the announcement was that Toyota plans to develop a brand new era of PHEVs that includes an electrical vary higher than 200 km (124 miles), which might enable most journeys to be made on electrical energy (whereas preserving such options as oil modifications and belt and hose replacements).
Hydrogen gas cells stay very a lot part of Toyota’s technique, though the corporate could also be shifting away from their use in passenger automobiles.
“For FCEVs, we’ll pursue mass manufacturing centered on industrial automobiles,” mentioned Mr. Nakajima, who went on to repeat the identical speaking factors that hydrogen followers have relied on for years: hydrogen is light-weight, so “the car shouldn’t be as heavy as a battery EV,” and “refueling can be a lot faster.” (As battery know-how continues to enhance, these marginal benefits appear prone to disappear over the following few years.)
Most of our colleagues within the EV media additionally appear to be underwhelmed by Toyota’s current bulletins. CleanTechnica writes that the slumbering large “is starting to stir,” though “it might be they’ve left it too late.”
Electrek famous that though 1.5 million EV gross sales might sound like rather a lot, it might signify lower than 15% of Toyota’s complete gross sales, and simply barely extra EVs than Tesla bought final yr.
A 124-mile PHEV does sound intriguing, however Autocar and others famous that there are severe questions on their real-world emissions. A 2022 report from the Worldwide Council on Clear Transportation discovered that real-world CO2 emissions from plug-in hybrids had been usually far greater than the measurements given of their approval course of.