Is Toyota Changing Their Mind on EVs?
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In the last few years, several car manufacturers have moved from dipping their toes with electric vehicles (EVs) to diving in headfirst. One brand, though, has been leaning in the opposite direction.
Toyota has been very resistant to the wave of electrification, looking to hydrogen fuel cell technology instead to power their future lineups. But that seems like it’s about to change.
According to The Drive, Toyota just announced a hefty $13.6 billion investment into lithium-ion and solid-state batteries.
Toyota hasn’t committed to battery-electric vehicles, until now.
What is holding Toyota back from going fully electric?
This shift comes as a surprise to many. Toyota was an early adopter when it came to hybrid technology and was first on the hybrid car scene with the Prius.
The legacy automaker has been more than hesitant with EVs. They’ve not only resisted making them but actively lobbied to decrease EV project funding.
Toyota is one of the few companies still attached to hybrids, as many other brands have focused on producing fully electric cars. There are many improvements in accessibility and range that EVs still need to make. Toyota thinks hybrids will be instrumental in bridging the gap, providing a necessary middle option for skeptical buyers.
Instead of battery-electric vehicles, Toyota was committing to mainly hydrogen power for their upcoming vehicles.
Why is Toyota investing in hydrogen fuel cell technology?
Toyota has invested heavily in the advancement of hydrogen fuel cell technology and believes it could be the next step in green driving. However, some critics believe that a big factor why Toyota is trying to slow EV adoption is because the brand is lagging behind its competitors.
The automaker sees fuel cell technology as a way to add more options into the green car market. Toyota believes this is a necessary step to help consumers transition away from combustion engines.
What will Toyota’s new EV project involve?
Toyota has made an aggressive change in direction with its EV investment, with lofty goals to obtain 200 gigawatt-hours of battery supply by 2030. They’re also looking to sell eight million electrified vehicles by then, with at least two million annual sales every year.
Toyota plans to focus on their development of solid-state and lithium-ion batteries. The solid-state batteries are on track to be available by 2025.
The brand’s first mass-market EV will be the bZ4X crossover. This vehicle focuses on longevity, and Toyota claims its battery capacity should only decrease by ten percent in ten years. Though this may be a step in the right direction in terms of sales and environmental benefits, it doesn’t mean Toyota will stop producing gas-powered vehicles.
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