Toyota Announces Major EV Investment
Most major automakers have gone public with splashy plans to electrify their model lines, but a few have been notably silent. Toyota was one of them, but today the Japanese giant changed its course with a significant announcement. It plans to invest billions in new battery-electric vehicles (EVs) and convert luxury brand Lexus into an all-electric automaker by the end of the decade. On stage at a media briefing in Japan, over a dozen EV concepts accompanied Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, ranging from mundane crossovers to sleek electric sports cars.
Toyota says it will spend $70 billion globally on electrified vehicle development, including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, EVs, and fuel-cell vehicles. It plans to offer 30 EV models across both Toyota and Lexus brands and sell 3.5 million EVs annually by 2030. Lexus will shift entirely to electric vehicles, offering a full range of EVs in all segments. Toyota will invest part of its promised billions in the United States, including constructing a battery factory in North Carolina.
Toyota and its CEO have been skeptical of EVs, having called them “overhyped” and criticizing the pollution caused by power plants to generate the electricity needed to charge them. The automaker’s pioneering status in the space faded as it failed to develop models to compete with most of its major competitors’ new offerings.
The first Toyota long-range EV, the 2023 bZ4X, will hit the streets next year, but the automaker’s announcement shows that it’s ready to release several more. The company showed an electric pickup truck that looks suspiciously like a Tacoma EV, a handful of electrified crossovers and SUVs with an FJ Cruiser look-alike, and a few electric sports car concepts that certainly have the look to be serious competitors if they make it to market.
The promised investment moves Toyota light years forward in the shift to electric vehicles. Still, it’s worth noting that the automaker has spent gobs of time and money lobbying against the technologies on Capitol Hill. As a non-union automaker, Toyota sees President Biden’s desire to implement incentives for consumers to buy EVs from American union workers as a threat. It has gone so far as running newspaper ads against Biden, but Toyota’s shift toward electrification is nevertheless a step in the right direction.
Toyota is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on December 14, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.