Electric Hilux on the cards as Toyota announces new EV strategy
An electric Hilux bakkie is part of Toyota’s strategy to sell 3.5-million electric vehicles a year by 2030, equivalent to about a third of its current global sales, while all Lexus models will be fully electric by 2035.
Toyota will expand its carbon neutral options by rolling out 30 battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2030, including cars and commercial vehicles. The latest commitment goes beyond the 15 models Toyota had earlier said it planned to have available by 2025.
The world’s largest carmaker announced its ambitious new carbon-reducing strategy on Tuesday after attracting criticism for not signing a pledge in November to phase out fossil-fuel cars by 2040. Six major carmakers — including General Motors, Ford, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz — signed the Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans, as did a number of countries, including India. But Toyota and number two global carmaker Volkswagen did not.
Toyota argued that large parts of the world are not ready for zero-emission vehicles. Where the energy and charging infrastructure, economics and customer readiness exist, it is ready to accelerate and help to support with appropriate zero-emission vehicles, it said.
“However, in many areas of the world such as Asia, Africa, Middle East ... an environment suitable for promoting full zero-emission transport has not yet been established,” a spokesperson said. “We think it will take more time to make progress ... thus it is difficult for us to commit to the joint statement at this stage.”
In a media briefing on Tuesday, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said that from 2022 to 2030 the company would increase its spending to ¥8-trillion ($70bn) in BEVs, hydrogen electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
It is not committing only to BEVs, the most popular choice among other carmakers, as it wants to watch how customers and markets change and flexibly meet preferences.
“It is difficult to make everyone happy with a one-size-fits-all option,” said Toyoda. “Toyota wants to make as many options available as possible for customers around the world.”
The recently announced BZ4X electric SUV will spearhead Toyota’s expanded BEV range. Jointly developed with Subaru, it will reach the market in 2022.
The company’s electric line up will soon be expanded by the BZ, a stylish compact SUV coupé in the mould of the current Toyota C-HR.
In Tuesday’s briefing the company displayed prototypes of various other electric models, including compact city cars, sports cars and a double-cab bakkie.
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