CNA – Toyota is considering a reboot of its electric-car strategy to better compete in a booming market it has been slow to enter, and has halted some work on existing electric vehicle (EV) projects, four people with knowledge of the still-developing plans said.
The proposals under review, if adopted, would amount to a dramatic shift for Toyota and rewrite the USD38 billion EV rollout plan the Japanese automaker announced last year to better compete with the likes of Tesla.
A working group within Toyota has been charged with outlining plans by early next year for improvements to its existing EV platform or for a new architecture, the four individuals said.
In the meantime, Toyota has suspended work on some of the 30 EV projects announced in December, which according to the sources and a document reviewed by the media include the Toyota Compact Cruiser crossover and the battery-electric Crown.
Toyota said it was committed to carbon neutrality but declined to comment on specific initiatives.
“In order to achieve carbon neutrality, Toyota’s own technology – as well as the work we are doing with a range of partners and suppliers – is essential,” the company said in response to questions from the media. The four sources declined to be identified because the plans have not been made public.
The revamp under consideration could slow the rollout of EVs already on the drawing board. But it would also give Toyota a chance to compete with a more efficient manufacturing process, as industry-wide EV sales run past Toyota’s earlier projections.
In addition, it would address criticism by green investors and environmental groups who argue that Toyota, once a darling of environmentalists, has been too slow to embrace EVs.
As part of the review, Toyota is considering a successor to its EV-underpinning technology called e-TNGA, unveiled in 2019. That would allow Toyota to bring down costs, the people said.
The first EV based on e-TNGA – the bZ4X crossover – hit the market earlier this year although its launch was marred by a recall that forced Toyota to suspend production from June. Production resumed earlier this month.