Toyota Is Ramping Up Its EV, Toyota has committed to accelerating its roll-out of electric cars in Europe with the launch of five new fully electric models within the next four years. The Japanese firm launched its first bespoke electric car, the bZ4X SUV, earlier this year, and previously committed all its sales in Europe (covering the EU, the UK and the European Free Trade Area) to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. was committed to. But Toyota hasn’t previously said how fast it will introduce new electric vehicles.
But Toyota’s European boss Matt Harrison has now confirmed the firm will have six models in its Beyond Zero range of EVs on sale by the end of 2026. That number includes the production version of the bZ4X and the bZ compact SUV concept that has been tipped. To appear as a production next year.
According to Harrison, that represents an acceleration of Toyota’s EV rollout, and is linked to the firm accelerating its commitment to a completely carbon neutral start in Europe – meaning all of its facilities, vehicles and logistics will be zero. Toyota has committed to becoming completely carbon neutral worldwide by 2050, but Harrison said the firm would achieve that goal in Europe by 2040.
Harrison made the announcement at Toyota Europe’s annual Kenshiki Forum, a major end-of-the-year showcase media event that is akin to a single-brand motor show. Move Electric was invited in to hear about Toyota’s plans for the future.
Well, we know about one of them for sure: It’s the bZ4X big SUV that arrived earlier this year as the electric counterpart to the Toyota RAV4. Toyota also recently revealed the bZ compact SUV concept, which was confirmed by Harrison as a production model. It’s effectively an electrical equivalent of the Toyota C-HR, and also the production version is probably going to arrive next year aboard a recently undraped C-HR introduction previewing a second-generation version of that model (bottom right).
The bZ compact SUV and the new C-HR share obvious family similarities, which you’d expect since they were designed alongside each other at Toyota’s European Design Development Center in France. While the bZ model are electric-only, the new C-HR are offered with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains.
Still, both will be flagship models for Toyota: as the EV’s place-holding name suggests they both sit in the important C-SUV market – mid-size SUVs, basically. It’s the biggest segment of the car market in Europe – and one that’s still growing – which means they could be big sellers.
So what happens after that? Well, Toyota isn’t really saying. A graphic shown during the Kenshiki forum suggested there would be one machine per year from 2023 to 2025, and then two models in 2026. We expect Toyota to follow the strategy of the bZ4X and bZ compact SUV concepts by initially offering them. EV that is roughly equivalent to its ICE model.
All of Toyota’s bZ-branded electric models will be built on the firm’s E-TNGA platform, which is shared with premium brand Lexus and was also developed with the help of Subaru. The platform is an extensively reworked electric version of the TNGA platform that underpins the bulk of Toyota’s saloons and SUVs.
It’s likely that the initial focus will be on high-riding SUV models: not only are they fitted with EV ‘skateboard’ chassis with batteries under the floor, but they’re also becoming increasingly popular: Toyota has got two of the C-segment One-third of the family car market is expected to be SUVs by 2025.
Lance Scott, Toyota’s European design chief, told us: “Saloons are declining in the European market and being taken over by SUVs. So whether or not we need to address that question is still under discussion.” And we need to look into it more deeply. C-SUV is probably the biggest market, with the biggest potential for future growth.
This means we could get an electric equivalent of the high-riding Toyota Corolla Cross before we get an EV sibling for the Corolla Hatch, for example. But don’t rule out the saloon entirely: Toyota recently launched the bZ3 saloon in China and while it’s initially purely for that market, it looks like the firm is considering offering it in Europe Is.
Whatever the model type, Toyota’s EV line-up is expected to grow rapidly in order to achieve its goal of selling only zero-emissions cars in Europe by 2035. Toyota may now be speeding up its move to zero-emissions vehicles, but it has been criticized as a late adopter when it comes to EVs. This is due to the success of its hybrids – which the firm calls ‘self-charging’, much to the irritation of some – and plug-in hybrid models, which means it hasn’t had to push as hard as rivals on BEVs have always done. To meet the stringent fleet emission regulations.
Harrison same the acceleration of the firm’s plans in Europe is as a result of “a variety of key enablers being place in situ to support fast transition”, for the most part associated with fast enhancements in charging infrastructure and electricity grids. He added: “Between now and 2040, we should be the fastest and farthest traveled of all Toyota regions in Europe. As such, we’ve got a vital role to play in leading the electrification acceleration and carbon neutrality ambitions for Toyota globally.
But that doesn’t mean Toyota is working on hybrids, or even various forms of hydrogen powertrains. “We believe it is too early, and perhaps too risky for the environment and our customers, to put all our zero emissions vehicle eggs in the BEV basket. “In the transition decade that lies ahead, we tend to believe it’s vital to continue providing low-emission solutions to all or any of our customers, so nobody is left behind.”
This essentially means that Toyota will continue with its approach of what it calls ‘the power of more’ – which effectively means working on multiple powertrain technologies and offering a wider range. The idea is that not every car buyer, and not every region of the world, is ready to make the leap to electric cars, so it’s better if Toyota has a hybrid, PHEV or hydrogen model to help those buyers make a step up. Offer to help. to reduce their emissions.
Toyota chief scientist Gil Pratt highlighted the limited supply and rising lithium prices for EV batteries, and argued that using that limited supply to produce large numbers of PHEV models that could replace older pure ICE cars may be more effective than making it smaller. number of EVs. He also cited doubts about the investment and time required to upgrade the electricity grid to deal with the high number of EVs. This is of course an issue in many countries, although the UK’s National Grid is confident that it can easily cope with an imminent switch off of electricity.
Pratt said: “I wish to be clear that Toyota is committed to battery electrical vehicles. They will play a vital role in helping to achieve carbon neutrality. Yet other electrified vehicles will continue to reduce carbon emissions as soon as possible. Powertrains are also essential.
Does it contain hydrogen?
In fact it does. Hydrogen has its doubts, largely related to the efficiency of its production, the energy used to produce it, and its suitability for storing vehicle fuel. And have you tried to find a hydrogen filling station lately?
Nevertheless, Toyota is pursuing development of hydrogen-electric fuel cell cars such as the Mirai and its experiments with hydrogen combustion engines.
The firm acknowledges that hydrogen is only as clean as the way it is produced, and stresses the need for ‘green hydrogen’, which is produced using renewable energy. Pratt said Toyota sees potential in using hydrogen as a large-scale storage system for renewable energy — but added that it had “significant potential” for vehicles.
Toyota’s hydrogen strategy extends beyond vehicles: The firm is investigating implementation in lightweight vehicles, business-to-business and new ecosystems – the latter includes the hydrogen-powered woven city community currently serving as a testbed in Japan. Harrison said Mirai FCEVs are used in many local fleet applications across Europe where there is charging infrastructure – a major problem with the UK’s number of hydrogen filling stations barely in double digits. Toyota recently confirmed that it is developing a new Hilux FCEV pick-up for commercial vehicle use as well.
Then there is the combustion of hydrogen – which, as it says on the tin, is a combustion engine converted to run on hydrogen. Toyota is testing the technology in motorsport, both with a converted GR Yaris hot hatch and with an endurance racing Corolla that competed in Japan this year.
Harrison same the firm has created nice strides with the technology, that it claims “does everything we have a tendency to love regarding driving these days however delivers it within the zero emissions world of tomorrow.” the corporate has magnified the ability output of the engine employed in Japanese endurance sport by twenty four per cent this year, with a thirty three per cent increase in force, he added.
He said that “we’re probably about 40 percent of the way to commercialization”, but admitted: “I don’t know if we’ll reach 100 percent. But it’s obviously too early to stop trying.”
What other new tech is the firm working on?
Like many car firms, Toyota believes that software will be key to the vehicles of the future. The firm’s Woven Planet division is currently developing a new software platform called Airen. It follows a ‘software defined architecture’ approach, which basically means it is fully integrated with the hardware traditionally associated with car platforms.
This will alter advanced over-the-air updates, the power to supply new options as downloadable extras – and also the ability to supply ‘mobility-as-a-service’ autonomous and advanced driver help systems. Toyota is additionally increasing its Kinto quality division. For the instant, it’s centered on providing subscription and lease packages in Europe, however that would change: in Japan the firm additionally offers a variety of e-scooters-like shared quality machines.
Meanwhile, Toyota’s premium brand Lexus will actually take the lead in developing electric technology for the firm, with a major focus on innovations that will improve the performance and mobility of electric cars.
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