Banner Vehicles July 2019

Toyota's Path on the EV / Hydrogen Journey

Toyota PriusIt’s not that often we catch up with news from Toyota, they are by weight of numbers the largest player, if they say something you need to take note.

For at least 20 years Toyota have practised two key core beliefs, its Synergy Drive hybrid powertrain and the future will be powered by hydrogen. Toyota has been quiet for a decade as Tesla started the EV revolution, and China have embraced EV’s with passion.

Most of Toyota’s inactivity in the early stages of the EV revolution can be levelled at Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the founder of Toyota. He believed that hydrogen was the future and that batteries couldn’t power the cars and trucks of tomorrow.

Toyota Hydrogen VehicleEarly in 2023 Akio Toyoda stepped aside and passed the leadership to Koji Sato. Less than 6 months later, Toyota is planning a full-scale effort into the EV market. Toyota has given the rest of the industry an enormous lead, but it’s the largest car company in the world by volume. If anyone can pull this off, Toyota can.

It appears that some Toyota insiders have been quietly pursuing the development of EV’s in an under-the-radar kind of way while waiting for Akio Toyoda to step aside.

This week, the company announced it will soon begin offering EV’s with a range of over 900Km’s through the integration of next-generation batteries and sonic technology. The plan calls for the introduction of a full line-up of electric Toyota and Lexus cars by 2026. In May 2023 Toyota launched its innovating technology BEV Factory.

Lexus EVThis industry is full of claims and Toyota is no different, they have announced a breakthrough in solid-state battery technology. No actual technical details about that breakthrough are available other than a statement that “The next-generation battery EVs will adopt new batteries, through which we are determined to become a world leader in battery EV energy consumption.

With the resources we earn, we will improve our product appeal to exceed customer expectations and secure earnings.” What exactly that means is anyones guess.

Toyota is also saying that the next-generation BEV’s for the world and as a full line-up will be launched in 2026 and by 2030, 1.7 million units out of 3.5 million overall will be provided by the new BEV Factory. Please look forward to a carmaker-produced battery EV that inspires the hearts of all Toyota’s customers.

Toyota's BEV factoryIs hydrogen still a part of Toyota’s future plan? The company is reporting that it will establish a Hydrogen Factory to develop further their hydrogen technology, particularly for commercial customers.

Mercedes announced recently that it is building electric buses that have onboard fuel cell range extenders supplied by Toyota. It says the focus of its hydrogen efforts will be for markets in Japan, China, and Europe. The hydrogen dream is powerful, but it’s also very expensive.

Toyota’s current hydrogen fuel cell technology, the Mirai, generates clean energy safely, and emits nothing but water. It has the range of a conventional internal combustion vehicle without producing the side effects. A hydrogen car can be refuelled quickly as opposed to an EV. However the infrastructure required for Hydrogen refuelling like EV charging has some way to go to catch up to conventional fuels.

The conundrum with hydrogen is how it is derived. Unless it is made with renewable energy, it produces copious quantities of carbon dioxide and uses heaps of electricity to manufacture.

Toyota has a huge challenge ahead if it wants to retain its position as one of the world’s dominant car manufacturers. It has started well behind the rest of the field. That doesn’t mean it can’t pull off a victory, but it will be tricky. Will Toyota be selling 1.7 million EV’s a year by 2030?

What do you think will be the future and what will you invest your hard-earned dollars into for transport? New improved, cheaper, and efficient internal combustion engine powered vehicles, longer ranged and cheaper EV’s or hybrids or what about Toyota’s plan for hydrogen powered vehicles. Some of us are jumping in now but most are waiting to see what happens. We hope it all goes well regardless of what you do.

December 2023


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