- New Toyota CEO Koji Sato yesterday said the company will start prioritizing EVs, according to a report by Automotive News.
- Sato also said luxury brand Lexus will lead the way, with the next-generation EV platform planned for around 2026.
- Toyota’s renewal strategy focuses on EVs, but it will continue to develop hybrid and hydrogen powertrains.
Toyota seems poised to turn a corner on its previously lukewarm approach to mass EV adoption. At least that’s what it sounds like after the company’s incoming CEO Koji Sato yesterday announced plans to start prioritizing EVs, according to a report by Automotive News.
Lexus Will Lead
Along with some changes to the company’s decision-making team, Sato revealed a three-pronged strategy that places a greater focus on EVs at the top end. The CEO also named Lexus to lead the charge into a new era, which will primarily include the introduction of a next-generation EV platform that will arrive around 2026.
Currently, the only fully electric model Toyota sells in the US is the bZ4X compact SUV, which the company co-developed with Subaru. The partnership is responsible for the upcoming Lexus RZ450e SUV as well, representing the luxury brand’s first American EV model. However, it should be noted that Toyota and Lexus have taken a long time to launch fully electric vehicles, especially when many competitors have offered several vehicles for several years.
Toyota and Lexus have previously shared plans to expand their future EV lineups, notably when the two companies showed off various concepts ranging from an electric Toyota pickup truck to an electric Lexus supercar. The two brands also said they will offer 30 EV models by 2030. That suggests the companies will combine to produce 28 new electric models over the next seven years.
That ambitious goal looks more likely now that Sato is in control. After all, his elevation to CEO is said to stem from the growing criticism Toyota has faced from investors, environmental activists, and others for its general opposition to the use of EVs under outgoing CEO Akio Toyoda.
Sato said the company’s change in direction was not a reaction to its rival’s growing market share but that it was the right time to develop the next generation of EVs with the capabilities and efficiency Toyota is known for, according to AN.Plans to achieve this are said to focus on new engineering and new manufacturing.
The new CEO also said Although the focus on EVs is now the priority, the company will continue to develop hybrid powertrains, plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel.
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