Toyota has announced that it will someday release a preview of a possible electric SUV for the European market. Details are “to be announced in the coming months.”
The unnamed “preview model” will be based on Toyota’s new e-TNGA platform. The new platform is designed to be easily adaptable for a range of vehicle types—some key elements of the architecture are fixed, and others can vary. This approach allows differences in vehicle width, length, wheelbase and height. The e-TNGA platform can accommodate front-, rear- or four-wheel drive, as well as a range of battery and electric motor options.
Toyota says the first model based on the new platform (no details offered) has already been developed and is being readied for production in Japan.
“Toyota will shortly take the next step in the rollout of its forthcoming battery-electric portfolio by first previewing an all-new mid-sized SUV in the coming months,” said Toyota’s Koji Toyoshima. “The versatility and flexibility of e-TNGA technology allows us to design and create vehicles that are not just battery-electric, but also exciting to drive and beautiful to look at.”
Are we hearing the falling of yet another domino? Is the auto industry’s most significant EV laggard finally going to start turning up the voltage? Probably not. Toyota is signaling that the new model will be aimed at Europe, where tightening emissions regulations are forcing all automakers to deliver a certain number of compliance cars, or buy credits from their more charged colleagues.
The day after its vague announcement of the possible “preview vehicle,” Toyota launched an updated version of the Mirai fuel cell car vehicle. The new version has a range of 800 km (497 miles), 30% greater than its predecessor, and has added features such as autonomous parking. It sells for about 5 million yen ($48,000), after about $10,000 in Japanese government subsidies.
As of the end of September, Toyota has sold about 11,100 units the first-generation Mirai, almost 6 years after its launch. The company says it plans to increase its production capacity for FCVs (including buses and trucks), to 30,000 a year from the current figure of 3,000. Hyundai is the only other major brand still producing passenger FCVs.
“The use of hydrogen is going to be an important factor in achieving carbon neutrality,” said Yoshikazu Tanaka, the Mirai’s Chief Engineer.