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Toyota to establish in-house venture company for EV development

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) will establish an in-house venture company responsible for developing electric vehicles (EVs). The venture company, which initially will be a virtual organization comprising four people—one each from Toyota Industries Corporation, Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd., Denso Corporation and TMC—and which will be independent of other internal structural organizations, is set to launch in December 2016.

The venture company will draw on the technological know-how and resources of the Toyota Group. Toyota intends that the small organizational structure will enable the new company to implement unconventional work processes, leading to accelerated project progress and fast-to-market products.

Toyota has remained steadfast to this point in its positioning of battery-electric vehicles as being better suited for short-range, urban applications, with fuel cell electric vehicles being positioned for larger and longer-range applications. In terms of cruising range, hydrogen fueling times and other aspects, fuel cell vehicles offer convenience on par with that of current gasoline-powered vehicles, making them, in TMC’s view, ideal as a form of “ultimate eco-car”.

However, with the steady arrival of competitors’ battery-electric vehicles with increasing range, such as the soon to be on market Chevrolet Bolt EV (2017 Motor Trend Car Of The Year) and the Tesla Model 3, Toyota appears to be adjusting its thinking.

In a statement announcing the new venture, TMC said it has long taken a multi-angled approach to introducing environment-friendly vehicles and has developed hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), EVs and others.

However, it said, differing energy and infrastructure issues around the world and the rapid strengthening of regulations aimed at increasing the use of zero-emission vehicles have heightened the need for product lineups that can respond to various situations. As such, along with its promotion of FCVs, TMC has decided to create a structure that will allow it to commercialize EVs “at an early stage,” as an alternative means of achieving zero emissions.

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, made Daihatsu a fully owned subsidiary and have begun work to established an internal company responsible for compact vehicles for emerging markets. The new organizational structure for EVs is a part of this effort. As a venture company that will specialize 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.

—TMC President Akio Toyoda

Comments

Dr. Strange Love

Not a bad political move starting a separate entity/venture for EV interests. It will be able to say and do what it wants, ideally, without upsetting the current Toyota Top-2-Bottom Human/Vehicle Capital Atmosphere and Interests.

Account Deleted

DSL I couldn’t agree more with your observation. It is vital that the BEV development unit is free to do what it want and are not influenced by old school thinking. Finally a smart move from Toyota. We will see how many resources this venture gets.

There is a video were Tesla’s Straubel tells among other things how important it was that Tesla could do things without any history of “we know how to do stuff because we have experience”. It is importsant to have free hands when something radically new is created like the Tesla Company. It is long but I think you will like it.

https://electrek.co/2016/11/14/tesla-cto-jb-straubel-battery-technology/

HarveyD

Toyota is too much of a technology leader to let TESLA (and others) take too much of its market for too long.

Toyota's extended range BEVs could join the existing extended range FCEVs by 2020/2021 or so, if affordable higher performance batteries become available.

Both could have the built in ADVs option.

SJC

Sixteen years after Prius and now they want to make a move.

HarveyD

The problems delaying Toyota's BEVs are/were:

1) Low battery performance.
2) Very high battery cost.
3) Very slow charging facilities.
4) Very limited BEV range, specially in very cold snowy areas.

For Toyota; HEVs, PHEVs and FCEVs have been good alternative ways to reduce fossil-bio fuels consumption from 1997 to about 2020 and become the world leader.

If and when the above 4 problem areas have been partly and/or fully solved, Toyota will mass produce competitive BEVs, sometime between 2020 and 2022.

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