Building hybrids has reportedly taught it plenty about EVs
Earlier this month, Automotive News published an article that accused Toyota and other Japanese automakers of having fallen behind in electric vehicle development. Among other examples, the article pointed out that Toyota only started its dedicated EV division less than a year ago. But if you ask Toyota, it’s not behind at all.
Speaking with Autocar, Kiyotaka Ise, Toyota’s head of research and development, said the company’s focus on hybrids and hydrogen-powered vehicles hasn’t held it back on the EV front. “We have been working with electric motors, inverters, and batteries for more than 20 years,” he said. “We have nothing to worry about. Our EV technology is already developed. The core technology is the same.”
Ise also dismissed concerns that Toyota hadn’t invested enough in battery research saying, “There are basically four battery suppliers in the world and we can buy from any of them.” However, he did admit that bringing solid-state batteries to market as soon as possible would give Toyota an edge over its competitors. But these types of high-energy-density batteries are one area where he says Toyota is investing heavily.
“I will not spoil the story by revealing our range goals or cost expectations, but we are working hard on solid-state batteries,” Ise said. “The plan is to have them on sale in the early 2020s. And that is an objective that we think puts us ahead of the opposition.”
Perhaps we’ll hear more about Toyota’s electric plans at the Tokyo Motor Show later this week.