Toyota will set up a special team in early 2017 to develop EVs, according to Japan’s Nikkei newspaper (via Reuters). The four-person team will include representatives from Toyota Motor, Aisin Seiki, Denso and Toyota Industries, with instructions to develop a long-range EV that will go on sale in 2020 in Japan, and possibly in California and China.
Toyota has previously announced plans to make all of its vehicles emissions-free by 2050.
The world’s largest automaker still believes hydrogen fuel cells are the future, but implied that EVs may be a better fit for certain markets. The company’s official statement:
Toyota’s stance to invest primarily in developing fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) has not been changed. We regard FCVs as the ultimate ideal environmentally friendly vehicle where drivers are able to expect the same level of convenience as that offered by gasoline engine vehicles, with a generous cruising range and a short hydrogen refuelling time.
In the midst of the rapid increase in regulations relating to zero emission vehicles around the world, there are two options to achieve zero emission vehicles: FCVs and EVs. Toyota has committed to making efforts in every direction on various powertrains when it comes to the development of environmentally friendly vehicles, and in relation to this, we have worked on the development of EVs as well.
Although there are issues relating to EVs which need to be resolved, such as the short range, long charging times and performance (durability) of batteries, we would like to be prepared to consider introducing EV products while examining the energy issues and infrastructure status quo of each region/country.