Toyota Pulls Forward Electrification Plan, Eyes Solid-State Battery Next Year


TOKYO — Toyota is ramping up electric vehicle deployment plans, pulling forward its goal of selling 5.5 million electrified vehicles by five years and aiming to develop a solid-state battery by next summer as it races to meet a “sudden surge” of EV popularization.

Toyota now aims to sell some 5.5 million traditional gasoline-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, EVs and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles by 2025. Nearly 1 million of them could be pure EVs.

Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi, Toyota’s r&d chief, outlined the new roadmap in a June 7 briefing about the company’s EV plans. In December 2017, the company had said it wanted to sell that many electrified vehicles by 2030, five years later than the revised outlook.

Terashi added that the company wants to unveil a solid-state battery for electrified vehicles ahead of next year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The technology, which promises lighter, more powerful and safer batteries, could be a breakthrough in popularizing electric vehicles.

“Wanting to make an effort is not enough. You really should be able to deliver,” Terashi said.

“If possible, by the time we have the Olympic games next year, we would like to make sure that a solid-state battery can be unveiled to the public,” Terashi said.

Indeed, Terashi cited a “sudden surge” in their popularization for revising the EV rollout.

“Progress has surpassed the target,” Terashi said. “We have entered a new age.”

Toyota is ramping up its EV development plans, partly in response to increasingly stringent emissions requirements in China and Europe. It plans to start making EVs in China next year on its way to releasing as least 10 BEVs (battery-powered models) worldwide by the early 2020s.

Toyota will not be abandoning the trademark hybrid technology pioneered in the Prius. It also aims to have electrified versions of every model in the Toyota and Lexus lineups by 2025.

But EVs have taken on fresh priority. As part of the new plan, Toyota plans to introduce an ultra-compact, two-seat EV in Japan in 2020. It will have a range of 100 kilometers (62 miles).

It is also readying a new dedicated EV platform it has developed with partners.

It is dubbed e-TNGA, a play on the company’s new-generation Toyota New Global Architecture modular platform that the automaker has been rolling out in recent years. The EV version is an outgrowth of EV C.A. Spirit Corp., a nine-company consortium led by Toyota to develop and share components for electric vehicles. Other members include Subaru, Mazda, Suzuki and Daihatsu.

Earlier in the week, Toyota said had agreed with Subaru to jointly develop an all-electric platform for midsize and large vehicles and jointly develop an electric crossover.

That vehicle, which will be sold separately under each brand, will debut in the early 2020s with the U.S. as a main target market, a Toyota spokesman said.

Terashi said Toyota is working with Suzuki and Daihatsu to jointly develop a compact EV.

The new platform will underpin six variations in all — a large SUV, a medium SUV, a medium crossover, a medium minivan, a medium sedan and the compact.

Toyota displayed clay concepts of many of the six body types, with distinctive EV design. The vehicles had long wheelbases, slit-like headlamps and camera-based sideview mirrors.

Gone were the radiator grilles. The front fascia get a protruding hood for accent.

To better focus on EV development, Toyota created a so-called Toyota ZEV Factory last November. It is an in-house EV product development and business planning division with 290 people that takes technology developed by EV C.A. Spirit and tailors it to the Toyota brand.

Terashi warned it could be a long time before EVs are profitable by themselves.

A quicker road to profitability, he said, would be adopting a new business model.

The idea is to not just manufacture and sell the cars, but to work with partners on wringing revenue from throughout a product’s lifetime. That includes businesses in sales, leasing, sharing, peripheral services, used car sales, battery reuse and recycling.

“Once those become viable, he BEV business will become viable, even if the battery price remains quite high,” Terashi said, adding that a new approach was crucial. “Unless we work on this at a very accelerated manner, we will not be able to ensure our future survival.”

www.ferroalloynet.com