Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Toyota join EV Market



TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. is gearing up for another run at the U.S. electric vehicle market, possibly starting with a crossover developed jointly with Subaru.
The two Japanese carmakers said last week they will jointly develop a dedicated EV platform and build a C-segment crossover on it that each company will sell separately.
The announcement was part of a messaging blitz by Toyota that it intends to amp up EV deployment and even introduce a solid-state battery by next summer. Toyota said it expects to get half its global sales — roughly equal to 5.5 million units — from electrified vehicles by 2025, five years ahead of the 2030 goal it had floated in December 2017.
Pure EVs are expected to account for fewer than 1 million of those.
Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi, Toyota's r&d chief, outlined the road map in a briefing about Toyota's EV plans. He cited the "sudden surge" in EV popularization in markets around the world for Toyota's new plan.
"Progress has surpassed the target," Terashi said. "We have entered a new age."
To illustrate its vision, Toyota rolled out clay concepts of vehicles populating its future EV fleet. A new EV platform will underpin six variations for the global market. The line will consist of a large SUV, a medium SUV, a medium crossover, a medium minivan, a medium sedan and a compact car, the company said.
The concepts shown have a distinctive EV design, with long wheelbases, slitlike headlamps and camera-based sideview mirrors. Missing are radiator grilles; clearly visible was accentuated aerodynamics.
A day before last week's briefing, Toyota disclosed a plan to jointly develop an all-electric platform for midsize and large vehicles with Subaru, with a new EV crossover based on it. That vehicle will debut in the early 2020s with the U.S. as a key target market, a Toyota spokesman said.
U.S. plans
The last EV Toyota sold in the U.S. market was also a crossover and also the product of a joint venture — an all-electric RAV4 crossover developed with Tesla. Toyota pulled the plug on that production in 2014, ending the two-year project with the California EV specialist.
Despite the fact that EVs account for only 1.3 percent of the U.S. market, Terashi said Toyota can't ignore the U.S. because it is still the world's second-largest EV market in terms of overall volume.
Automakers sold 194,869 battery-electric vehicles in the U.S. in 2018, according to the Automotive News Data Center, compared with more than 700,000 in the world's largest EV market, China. Norway was No. 3 with sales of 46,000.
Toyota is considering other options for meeting zero-emission mandates in the U.S. The first, Terashi said, is introducing a next generation of the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car. But Toyota also needs EVs, he said. The company is debating whether entries should come under the Toyota or Lexus brand, or possibly have a sporty character, akin to Tesla's, he said.
In the compact EV segment, Toyota is working with Suzuki and Daihatsu.
And as part of the new plan, Toyota expects to introduce an ultracompact, two-seat EV in Japan in 2020. It will have a range of 62 miles.
Terashi added that Toyota also 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 spurring electric vehicle demand.
"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.
ZEV Factory
To achieve these plans, Toyota must accelerate EV development, 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 at least 10 battery-powered models worldwide by the early 2020s.
Toyota won't 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.
The new dedicated EV platform will be developed with partners and called e-TNGA, a play on the company's new-generation Toyota New Global Architecture modular platform. 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.
To better focus on EV development, Toyota created the Toyota ZEV Factory last November. It is an in-house EV division for product development and business planning with 290 people that takes the technology developed by EV C.A. Spirit and tailors it to the Toyota brand.
Terashi warned that 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 also 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, the [battery-electric] 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."

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