Toyota steps up a gear with major investment in electric vehicles

Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday announced its goal of selling 3.5 million electric vehicles per year worldwide by 2030, as part of its plan to boost its campaign for carbon neutrality.

Toyota said it will also increase investment in battery development to 2 trillion yen ($18 billion) from the 1.5 trillion yen previously announced and launch 30 electric vehicle models globally by 2030, President Akio Toyoda said during a press briefing.

With this announcement, Japan’s largest automaker is doubling the number of new electric vehicle models: the previous plan offered 15 models by 2025.

“The energy situation differs from region to region. Therefore, Toyota wants to meet the situation and needs of different countries and regions by providing various choices in terms of carbon neutrality,” said Toyoda.

The company had said earlier that of the 8 million electrified cars it aims to sell by 2030, 2 million will be battery electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles.

For the new range of 30 electric vehicle models, Toyota will invest 4 trillion yen by 2030. This would be part of an overall investment of 8 trillion yen in electrified vehicles, including hybrid and hydrogen vehicles , by the end of the decade, the company said. .

Electric vehicles still make up only a small share of car sales, but the market is growing rapidly, with new registrations up 41% in 2020 even as the global car market has contracted by a sixth this that year.

In November, Toyota refused to join a pledge signed by six major automakers, including General Motors and Ford Motor Co., to phase out fossil fuel cars by 2040. It argued that all regions of the world would not be ready to switch to green cars. by then.

In addition to battery electric vehicles, Toyota is also building hydrogen fuel cell cars and developing hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines, although it did not say when it might commercialize the technology.

The company has accelerated its efforts to further electrify its lineup in recent months. Toyota recently pledged it would be ready to sell only zero-emission cars in Europe by 2035, aligning itself with European Union Green Deal measures proposed earlier this year. Once considered a laggard in the United States, the automaker grabbed headlines earlier this year with its plans for electric vehicles.

Even so, Toyota expects US demand for its gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles to increase over the next decade. By 2030, Toyota sees hybrids representing just over half of the vehicles it sells in the United States. Zero-emission electric vehicles and hydrogen cars are expected to account for 15% of sales, the automaker said in a briefing earlier this year.

On Dec. 6, Toyota announced it would open its first U.S. battery plant at a mega-site in North Carolina, joining an industry-wide push as automakers ramp up efforts to electrify their fleets. Production at the plant is expected to start in 2025.

Toyota’s push into electric vehicles comes as rivals have made aggressive pledges to electrify their lineups and build infrastructure to manufacture vehicle batteries. President Joe Biden challenged the industry in August to make half of all vehicles sold in the United States emission-free by the end of the decade.

Toyota’s battery plant will be the main tenant of an industrial park called the Greensboro-Randolph Mega-site, an 1,825-acre parcel of land in central North Carolina that has been rezoned for heavy industry. The plant will create approximately 1,750 new jobs there. The automaker said the North Carolina site will initially have the capacity to build enough lithium-ion batteries for 800,000 vehicles a year across four production lines.

The automaker said it will commit to using 100% renewable energy at the plant, which will be known as Toyota Battery Manufacturing, in North Carolina. It joins 10 other non-union plants that Toyota currently operates in the United States.

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About Mohammed B. Hale

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