Reports in Japanese newspaper Nikkei claimed Toyota will launch long-range EVs from start of the next decade
Sam Sheehan
17 November 2016

Toyota will launch a new start-up company this December to develop electric vehicles (EVs).

This company, which is yet to be named, will begin work in two weeks' time with the aim of fast-tracking Toyota EV models to the market. It will be comprised of just four employees but will have access to the tools and information of Toyota's main brand.

No timescale for when the first Toyota EV would arrive has been revealed, but Japanese newspaper Nikkei claimed last week that Toyota would bring its first EV to market by 2020. It said the model, and following Toyota EVs, would be capable of travelling more than 186 miles on a single charge.

Toyota said today: "[The new company] will draw on the technological knowhow and resources of the Toyota group to develop EVs, leading to accelerated project progress and thus fast-to-market products". This suggests Toyota's EV models could be built upon existing vehicle architecture.

The Japanese manufacturer has previously said that hydrogen fuel cell power is its primary choice for zero-emission models, and its Mirai was the first vehicle of this type to go on sale in Britain.

However, Toyota admits a lack of hydrogen infrastructure in several of the world’s global markets and expensive production costs mean more conventional EVs are the more economically viable option for now.

Sales numbers for Toyota's hydrogen models are small – just 15 Mirais arrived in Britain this year, priced from £66,000 - but the conventional EV market has had rapid growth around the world. Registrations of new EVs in Britain increased from an average of 2300 per month in 2015 to around 3000 per month this year.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda said of the announcement: “Over these past few years, which we have positioned as years for strengthening our planting of seeds for the future, we have taken such measures as establishing the Toyota Research Institute, making Daihatsu a fully owned subsidiary and beginning work to establish an internal company responsible for compact vehicles for emerging markets. The new organisational structure for EVs is a part of this effort.

"As a venture company that will specialise in its field and embrace speed in its approach to work, it is my hope that it will serve as a pulling force for innovation in the work practices of Toyota and the Toyota Group.”

Autocar sampled one of Toyota's first production EVs, the FT-EV, back in 2011.

Our Verdict

Toyota Mirai

Toyota claims another first: Europe’s first ‘ownable’ hydrogen car

Join the debate

Comments
10

7 November 2016
Oh dear it looks like the wheels are being blown off the Hydrogen powered car.

"More conventional battery-powered EVs could therefore be a more attractive option for Toyota’s first mass-market EV cars" sense at last

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

bol

7 November 2016
Toyota may have lost ground by going down a blind alley, but they're far to methodical not to recognise and rectify their mistake. Odd that pretty much everyone else realised this three or four years ago though.

7 November 2016
At least with their expertise gained through hybrid development it shouldn't take them too long to catch up.

I think their view may have been skewed by the Japanese government's enthusiasm for hydrogen but now they are acknowledging global reality.

7 November 2016
Xxxx you always seem to have a go at hydrogen fuel cell vehicles but without any real basis in reality for it. First yes battery cars will be more popular at the start, but as time goes on problems with recycling the old units and the cost of fast charging rising due to more expensive electricity fuel cells will take over. Second the commercial vehicle side is going down the hydrogen fuel cell route due to weight and packaging issues. Remember when diesel was a commercial vehicle fuel.
K. M

8 November 2016
Ksm78 wrote:

Xxxx you always seem to have a go at hydrogen fuel cell vehicles but without any real basis in reality for it. First yes battery cars will be more popular at the start, but as time goes on problems with recycling the old units and the cost of fast charging rising due to more expensive electricity fuel cells will take over. Second the commercial vehicle side is going down the hydrogen fuel cell route due to weight and packaging issues. Remember when diesel was a commercial vehicle fuel.

Emmmm not sure what " without any real basis in reality for it"
means.
"recycling the old units " -- Hydrogen cell cars have batteries too, the IX35 Hydrogen one is as big as the Nissan Leaf's.
"cost of fast charging rising due to more expensive electricity fuel cells will take over" it costs the same to refuel no matter how fast you do it, overnight will give you a range of around 200 miles the next day.
"the commercial vehicle side is going down the hydrogen fuel cell route due to weight and packaging issues" they're carry on with diesel as there will be plenty of it left over as no one else will be using oil for transport other than a few cars, trains, lorries and planes.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

8 November 2016
Japanese companies have a problem with bureaucratic inertia. With hybrids, this was an advantage as Toyota plowed on for years before they really took off and while other companies scoffed. Now they are synomymous with this type of powertrain.

But with battery EVs they have been caught out. The same inertia that kept them following the hybrid road to success has kept them from taking the turning to pure battery EVs. And it has helped propel the hydrogen car program for years when it probably would have been more sensible to stop.

The Japanese have done this before: They had HD TV (Hi-Vision) for years before anyone else -- but their format was not accepted around the world because it was analogue. Then again with the MD player. Cool invention in its time as you could read and write digital music multiple times in on the same disk back in the day when the alternative was the CD player which could only read. MiniDisc -- big hit in Japan, and a great technology in its time, but totally obsolete thanks to the MP3 players and now streaming music ... but still big in Japan and still pushed by Japanese companies due to bureaucratic inertia.

Battery tech and economies of scale are both advancing quickly. There is an electric power infrastructure already in place, but nothing for hydrogen of any significance.

Toyota has realized, but are they in time? The fact that they don't have any idea of the platform they will use ("models could be built upon existing vehicle architecture or alternatively use all-new underpinnings") emphasizes just how far behind they are.

17 November 2016
Toyota abseiled hybrid market a decade and more before any one else. I also could not help noticing their slow move towards the growing EV market. I also think Toyota has done far less with the hybrid power train than potentially possible. Competition that still has to catch up can be blamed but at the end of the day it seems that mass makers are finally all set to embrace electricity. The next decade can be a decade of zero tail pipe emissions. While not virtually zero emissions, EVs are at least a breath of fresh air for smoke choked city centres.

8 November 2016
Toyota's EVs will probably still beat VW's EV concepts to market. Their new vehicle architecture is designed to handle hybrid and EV propulsion technologies. They have long had the RAV4 EV in select markets and the Prius Prime plug-in is about to be released. Toyota really does not have to do much catching up.

17 November 2016
"However, it admits a lack of hydrogen infrastructure in several of the world’s global markets and expensive production costs mean more conventional EVs are the more economically viable option for now." in other words we made a mistake and are now dropping the Hydrogen option for the next 50 years +

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

22 November 2016
that you don't hear from Toyota's efforts to combine ICE and generator in the so-called Free Piston Linear Generator... It is THE solution to combine dramatically improved energy efficiency, ditto lower emissions, low weight (as an enormous battery pack becomes obsolete) and affordability. Perhaps AutoCar should look into this...

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK