Toyota recently announced it will invest $35 billion in electric vehicles (EVs) and introduce 30 all-electric models across the Toyota and Lexus lines by 2030. This was one of many announcements Toyota made over the past several months about its electrification strategy.
An earlier statement this year said the automaker plans to release 15 EV models by 2025. Then, a few months ago, it announced a $13 billion investment in battery technology, which includes a push to reduce the cost of batteries and increase their efficiency.
Earlier this month, Toyota said it had selected the location for a U.S. manufacturing plant for lithium-ion batteries. Once operational in 2025, the North Carolina plant will produce batteries for 200,000 vehicles annually. Also, the company has expansion plans in the works to increase its manufacturing capabilities to supply batteries for 1.2 million vehicles.
Toyota’s recent announcements are similar to one by Nissan, which has pledged a $17.5 billion investment over five years and 23 electric models by 2030. General Motors pledged to only sell zero-emissions vehicles by 2035 and have 30 new EV models by 2025. BMW, Kia and Ford have also made significant announcements related to EVs.
The Japanese automaker has been the worldwide market leader in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and its hybrid product portfolio includes the Camry, Avalon, Highlander and Prius. Although Toyota has been a leader in HEVs and produced the Prius, the first mainstream hybrid vehicle, it has been sluggish to adopt EVs. In fact, Toyota has yet to release one, so it hasn’t capitalized on its early lead in developing alternatives to the conventional internal combustion engine (ICE). Nevertheless, the company has a number of all-electric models in the works, so let’s explore what Toyota has on deck.
The automaker shows it wants to stay competitive in the off-road cruiser SUV market by introducing a rugged and compact electric SUV within a couple of years. Little has been announced about the cruiser's electric powertrain, but it will likely have a boxy appearance and a starting price of around $35,000.
Numerous all-electric SUVs are being released in 2022, including the Audi Q4 e-tron, the Chevy Bolt Electric Utility Vehicle, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6, Mazda MX-30 and Nissan Ariya. Thus, Toyota’s all-electric SUV will join a more crowded space when it first makes its appearance.
Toyota recently revealed a concept for an electric pickup that will join the mid-size Tacoma and full-size Tundra in Toyota’s pickup lineup. Although the details are still foggy, including the starting price and release date, it seems to be between the sizes of the Tacoma and Tundra, with a style similar to the Tundra. It has a four-door crew cab with a relatively short bed, off-road tires, and a blocked-off grill found in many battery-powered EVs.
By the time the new pickup is released, there will be several electric pickups to compete with, including the Ford F150 Lightning, GMC Hummer Pickup, Rivian R1T and likely the Tesla Cybertruck. Rivian, a California-based start-up, was the first automaker to release an EV pickup, which has gotten a lot of attention for this achievement.
Time will tell if Toyota will be able to catch up in the next few years on the vehicle electrification front, but its recent announcements seem encouraging.
Image credit: Toyota
Sarah Lozanova is an environmental journalist and copywriter and has worked as a consultant to help large corporations become more sustainable. She is the author of Humane Home: Easy Steps for Sustainable & Green Living, and her renewable energy experience includes residential and commercial solar energy installations. She teaches green business classes to graduate students at Unity College and holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School.