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Toyota’s new senior management remains committed to multi-pathway future; becoming a mobility company

Toyota recently restructured its senior management. Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada resigned his post, the former President Akio Toyoda was appointed chairman, and Operating Officer Koji Sato was appointed president, effective 1 April 2023. On 7 April, Sato, along with Hiroki Nakajima, Executive Vice President and Yoichi Miyazaki, Executive Vice President, outlined the new management policy and direction.

Sato opened by saying that for the car to continue being a necessary part of society, the future of the car needs to be changed. There are two major themes associated with that, Sato said:

  • Carbon neutrality. Toyota is fully committed to achieving carbon neutrality in 2050 over the entire life cycle of its vehicles.

  • Car manufacturing. Toyota will continue to pursue a variety of options, based on a multi-pathway solutions, to stay close to the future of energy and the condition of each region.

First, we will thoroughly implement electrification, which we can do immediately. To steadily reduce CO2 emissions from where we stand now, we will promote the practical popularization of electrified vehicles. We will strengthen sales of hybrid electric vehicles, including in emerging markets, and increase the number of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle options. We will expand our lineup of battery electric vehicles, or BEVs, which represent one important option, over the next several years.

At the same time, we are boldly preparing for the future. As one of our efforts, we will do our utmost to develop next-generation BEVs for the era of BEV popularization and create new business models. And we will also accelerate projects for the realization of the hydrogen society that lies just beyond. With partners across industries and countries, we will advance the expansion of the realm of using hydrogen by such means as social implementation in Thailand and Fukushima, the mass production of commercial fuel cell electric vehicles, and the development of hydrogen engine technologies in the arena of motorsports. Furthermore, we will work with the energy industry to develop technologies for carbon-neutral fuels.

—Koji Sato

Through this all-direction approach, Toyota aims to reduce average CO2 emissions its vehicles sold worldwide by 33% by 2030 and by more than 50% by 2035 compared to 2019.It will continue to promote decarbonization globally and steadily toward 2050.


Koji Sato explaining Toyota Mobility Concept

Connected cars and the data they provide is also central to Toyota’s mobility concept. In “Mobility 1.0”, Toyota aims to extend the value of the car by connecting various types of movement. For example, BEVs offer new possibilities as mobility that transports electricity. Collectively serving as an energy grid, BEVs can enhance the energy security of society.

Intelligence can evolve cars even further by utilizing information gathered from cars and customers. The Toyota software platform Arene (earlier post) will be key to this new kind of car-making. Sato said that Toyota will do its utmost to develop a next-generation BEV for 2026 together with Woven By Toyota.

“Mobility 2.0” will expand mobility into new realms, including currently unsupported areas such as the elderly, people living in depopulated areas, and people in emerging markets in which the car market has yet to mature. New mobility possibilities, such as mobility in the sky, are also expanding.

“Mobility 3.0” is about integration with social systems—creating mobility ecosystems that tie into energy and transportation systems, logistics, as well as the way we live, and are integrated with cities and society. For example, Toyota will advance development of a new logistics system, the development of city-integrated autonomous mobility, and the demonstration of a CO2-free hydrogen supply chain that starts from Woven City, as well as a demonstration for expanding the potential of hydrogen use in daily lives.

Hiroki Nakajima will be in charge of products. Nakajima said that realizing the cision of the Toyota Mobility Concept will require electrification, intelligence and diversification.

Electrification. Toyota will continue to tailor electrification to the needs of customers and individual regions by drawing on the strengths and characteristics of each vehicle type.

The company will released ten new BEV models by 2026, which would amount to 1.5 million vehicles of annual sales. These are to include next-generation BEVs with doubled driving range.

  • In the US, Toyota will start the local production of a 3-row SUV in 2025.The SUV will be equipped with batteries to be produced in North Carolina, and the production capacity will be increased.

  • In China, in addition to the bZ4X and bZ3 which was announced last month, Toyota will launch two models of locally developed battery EVs in 2024, fit to the local needs., and will continue to increase the number of models in the following years.

  • By the end of the year, Toyota will start Asian production of battery EV pickup trucks and will also launch a small battery EV model.

Toyota will also transform manufacturing, reducing the number of processes by half. This will entail a shift to more efficient lines, including autonomous inspections and unmanned transport powered by connected technology.

To realize these transformations, we are creating a new specialized unit. Working under a single leader entrusted with full authority, this all-in-one team will handle every function, from development to production and business operation.

—Hiroki Nakajima

By increasing battery efficiency to extend the EV-mode driving range beyond 200 km, Toyota intends to reposition PHEVs as “the practical BEV” and will work harder on developing this as another BEV option.

For FCEVs, Toyota will pursue mass production centered on commercial vehicles.



If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

The obsession with giant batteries, regardless of their actual technological readiness, as the one, the only, the true solution to mobility is downright daft.

And Toyota are now stepping up the pace, as technological readiness improves, whilst still offering multiple solutons.

Highlights I have picked out:

They have commited to V2G: (from link above to Toyota's press conference)

' BEVs offer new possibilities as mobility that transports electricity. Collectively serving as an energy grid, BEVs can enhance the energy security of society.

We have a timeline on when they expect far better batteries, presumably their solid state:

' we also have plans to release next-generation BEVs entirely different from those of today―BEVs created by carmakers in 2026. This new generation of BEVs will double driving range by using batteries with far greater efficiency,'

And they still plan to offer hybrids, with way increased range, so that instead of a really massive battery, you have an ICE for long journeys:

' . By increasing battery efficiency to extend the EV-mode driving range beyond 200 km, We will reposition PHEVs as "the practical BEV" '

And they can now make hybrids cost competitively with straight ICE:

' the cost of hybrid systems has dropped to one-sixth of the original cost, and now able to make profit, comparable to that of gasoline-powered vehicles. In this way, Toyota has greatly been able to enhance its earning power while investing in the future, growing with stakeholders, and reducing CO2 emissions.'

This is going to tie in with their continued involvement in hydrogen, initially for commercial vehicles, but of course they can potentially replace hybrids with ZEV at all ranges:

' For FCEVs, we will pursue mass production centered on commercial vehicles. As indicated by the blue line on the left-hand graph, one feature of FCEVs is that the energy source, hydrogen, is lightweight, so even when traveling longer distances the vehicle is not as heavy as a battery EV, and less space is required.'

I find their plans for carbon neutrality throughout building, running and scrapping cars credible, as they have never concentrated solely on one aspect, but like other respectable players like Volvo and BMW have put in place proper energy and emission accounting systems throughout, not just headline grabbing stuff:

' We are fully committed to achieving carbon neutrality in 2050 over the entire life cycle of our vehicles.'


' We will work to promote electrified vehicles and reduce CO2 emissions with leaving no one behind, including in emerging markets. Through this all-direction approach, we aim to reduce average CO2 emissions for vehicles we sell worldwide by 33% by 2030 and by more than 50% by 2035 compared to 2019. We will continue to promote decarbonization globally and steadily toward 2050.'

With their multi pronged approach using technologies where applicable and mindful of the differences in various regions of the world, they have demonstrably outperformed VAG, with its mindless aping of Tesla and batteries everywhere, they hope, regardless of cost.

But the big news is that Toyota reckon they will have way better batteries ready by 2026.

And they do not make claims lightly.


Sato San is displaying “Keiro no Hi” (Respect for the Aged) to Toyoda San.
PHEV “that ship has already sailed”, Toyota could have done that when GM did the Chevy Volt. Range Extended EV make sense for Class 2B to Class 8 trucks, or anything pulling a 5 ton trailer long distances.
Peter Rawlinson, CEO of Lucid Motors said the same thing and Lucid believes that you will only need a 40kWH battery (Nissan leaf size) for a 250 mile range EV, not some “Giant battery”.
Reference: https://spectrum.ieee.org/ev-battery-wish-list
Peter Rawlinson knows a lot about automobile engineering, too. He was Principal Engineer at Jaguar Cars, Chief Engineer at Lotus Cars and VP at Tesla.


Hi Gryf

Peter Rawlinson may be a considerable engineer, but there are a couple of them too at Toyota.

Since Lucid is only building BEVs, he is hardly likely to be singing the praises of PHEVs, whilst Toyota can offer both, so as I noted, not everything has to look like a nail to them, as they have more tools in their box.

Looking at sales in 2022:


' BEVs: about *7.2 million and 10% share
PHEVs: about *2.9 million and 4% share
Total: 10,091,164 (up 55% year-over-year) and roughly 14% share'

Since in many current markets incentives are heavily biased towards BEVs, it seems rather premature to claim that the ship has sailed.

It seems to be still pretty firmly tied up alongside the dock! ;-)



I have no doubt that Toyota regard hybrids, both regular and PHEV as transitional, with BEVs and FCEVs the future of transport.

But different regions are at different stages of transitioning, and in the interim, short or long, Toyota can sell millions of vehicles at a good profit, as they have and are continually developed them, as well as BEVs and FCEVs.

That is a way better solution for a mass market manufacturer, who sell at the cheap end of the market as well as at the premium levels where to date most BEVs have sold, than surrendering that part of the market.

TMC are interested in mobility for all, not just selling to the wealthy, as Toyoda said ' a flower on a high mountain, beautiful, but inaccessible'


Actually Rawlinson said if you are pulling a trailer a BEV would not be as good as a PHEV or Range Extended EV. You need a very large battery like the Ram Revolution which has a “Giant 229 kWh battery” and even has an option for a Range Extender.


Thank you for those extra details of Sato-san's address. This is why Toyota have been "slow" to produce BEVs, they know the current lithium ion technology is a non starter and highly dangerous. They have been working on "Beyond Lithium" for a long time now.


If you want to pull a trailer, and want ZEV, then an FCEV is far superior.

But Toyota once they are happy with the weight and cost of the batteries will be able to offer all drive trains to do the job, and with the roll out of hydrogen stations happening in Europe they will be able to be adequately fuelled.

I just can't see how it can be bad to have all the options, and expertise in manufacturing them all.

So for instance Toyota's continued developement of hybrids has fed straight into FCEVs which use a similar architecture, and might even apply to some relatively minor extent to wireless on the move charging, as you would need a relatively small battery running lots of cycles in comparison to a long range BEVs without through the road charging.

Broad expertise accross the field is helpful, in my view.



I should make clear that my reference to 'giant batteries' was not meant to infer that they are needed to run all BEVs, and so there is no inherent contradiction with Rawlinson's comments, although I would note that I would not much fancy a BEV with a 40KWh battery pack as it ages towards 80% capacity somewhere where range is cut through cold weather in winter.

It was specifically a criticism of trying to use batteries in all cases where they struggle, with pulling a trailer on any regular basis perhaps among the applications where they have a hard time and alternatives are worth considering.



With a massive battery research program Toyota work on all sorts of things, no doubt including alternatives to lithium, but with a timeline of 2026 confirmed this is highly likely to be their solid state battery, which is a lithium technology.

Alternatives are a lot further down the road for cars.


The BYD Seagull has a 40 kWh LFP battery and will give around 405 km range. The LFP battery will last 4000 cycles, so close to 1 million miles before that 80% capacity worry . There are 40k Public Charging points in the UK today (https://www.zap-map.com/statistics/).
The BYD Seagull is almost the same size as the Chevy Bolt EV and is available today in China. Sato San needs to worry about China. A Tesla or Lucid or Mercedes based 40 kWh EV would be more efficient than the BYD Seagull which should happen around 2025.


OP> …the realization of the hydrogen society that lies just beyond… (BEVs)

This is going to be quite a trick. Follow the price performance curve of batteries, with the assumption that what is in the lab and specialized applications like aerospace will be mass produced at increasingly competitive pricing within a predictable time frame and it’s hard to see how H2 becomes an economically competitive successor. The conversion efficiency is just not there. Even if you assume Toyota will eventually be able to develop cheap fuel cells and storage, shipping electrons is going to beat shipping atoms every time.



The BYD Seagull sounds excellent.

The long cycle life is due to the use of LFP though, so to get the reduced weight and better efficiencies you mention presumably they use other chemistries which are a lot lighter, but also usually have lower cycle life.

Better batteries will come along though, from Toyota amongst others, and I reiterate that my criticism of giant batteries was not directed at all BEVs, but at usages where the boundaries are pushed too far, with the present predeliction for SUVs, heavy towing etc.



Actually shipping electrons about it rather tough and expensive, and piping hydrogen or even more its derivatives uses a lot more infrastructure and cabling than the single hydrogen pipe which can often do the job of six or seven cables.

That is aside from the expense of installing one charger per home, which aside from the fact that it is somewhere between difficult and impossible for many folk is in many respects a bigger and more expensive undertaking then the single liquid fuel pump with covers 1500 or so cars.

And it is way, way less efficient to produce electricity in regions such as Germany with poor resources, than in for instance Morocco where the same solar panel will generate twice the energy per year and where there are excellent wind resources.

It is not the slam dunk for efficiency you claim for batteries, as even with converting renewables to, say, ammonia and shipping them to destination countries you have that two for one efficiency gain to start with to play with.

And why then go through the extra step of conversion to electricity outside the car, when it can be used as hydrogen in the car which will keep the occupants warm and the small battery at optimum temperature without the substantial range losses for BEVs?

Most places in the States batteries will work fine on locally produced renewable electricity, but that solution does not have the universality you claim, without substantiation.

It is not cheaper and more convenient to ship electrons than atoms over long distances as you claim.

The reverse is the case, and both Japan and northern Europe are not blessed with the renewable resources of North America.

It is not co-incidence that Toyota is a Japanese company.

If you are not going to use nuclear, it is difficult to see how power can be provided there solely by renewables without substantial imports.

And for the distances involved, it most certainly is not cheaper to do that as electrons.


It is true that we currently see distribution networks of liquid fuels stretch halfway around the world, but high voltage transmission lines only within smaller regions like multi-state or nation clusters.

But as nations move to secure energy supplies, relying on transmission from sometimes unreliable or unfriendly nations or regions seems like a poor choice. That’s been true since the 1970’s and is even more true given current events today.

If geothermal can be tapped economically, which seems to be a matter of making deep drilling less expensive, and using closed loop technologies and field layouts that do not invite seismic disturbances, no country will ever have to rely on another to import energy. If that happens, do you imagine that the wholesale and retail application will be liquid fuels or electricity?

It seems much more likely to me that the steam will spin a turbine and the product will be electricity.

Considering that is what solar and wind turbines also produce, I’d rather invest in transmission grids than pipelines.


Hi eci.

You argued:

' Considering that is what solar and wind turbines also produce, I’d rather invest in transmission grids than pipelines.'

That is what they are doing for Morocco to the UK, using cables, which is pretty much at the top boundary for anything like economical transmission.

But of course cables, just like pipelines, do not avoid your other critique:

' relying on transmission from sometimes unreliable or unfriendly nations or regions seems like a poor choice. '

And without substantial nuclear, the massive cost differential of producing renewable energy in Northern Europe and Japan compared to more blessed regions remains.

But if you stick ammonia or LOHC etc in a ship, then you have access to low cost supplies from anywhere with decent renewables, and can switch suppliers and widen the supply base far more easily.

That is why the actual plans and investments by, for instance, Germany look at setting up production in wide variety of places, including not only the North Sea using hydrogen pipelines, but places as far apart as Namibia and Brazil.

The basic issue that the engineers are addressing is that, contrary to that which you have argued, for poorly resourced regions like Japan and Northern Europe transporting liquid fuels produced where renewables are cheap and then piping or shipping it is way more practical usually than sending it as electrons.


You have many misconceptions about Japan. I know more than a little since I lived there.
It is not like Northern Europe (unless you are only talking about Hokkaido). Tokyo climate is closer to Madrid than London, where most of the people live. The rest of Japan is even warmer thanks to Sea of Japan aka South China Sea and includes major urban areas of Osaka, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki.
You also forget another major renewable resource, Geothermal and Japan is on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” like California and has enormous resources which will soon be developed.
Reference: https://www.chevron.com/newsroom/2022/q3/chevron-and-moeco-to-collaborate-on-advanced-geothermal-technology
And finally, Germany could even make the dirtiest fuel clean if they used the Super Criitical CO2 Allam-Fetvedt Cycle.


Hi Gryf:

Even though I have not lived in Japan I am tolerably well acquinted with its latitude!

The issue there is more about the mountainous nature of so much of it, and the high population density, together with the steeply shelving coastline making offshore more difficult for wind.

I haven't come across info on the Allam cycle before, and to be honest I am not very keen on coal for a variety of issues as well as GW, including water pollution etc.

In any case, both Germany and Japan could solve their problems of zero carbon energy production with off the shelf nuclear technology, so long as they use realistic estimates for tsunami risk etc.

What both are going for is importing energy as liquid fuels from areas with better renewable resources, and I am going to assume that the engineers have done some sums to arrive at that solution, given their political constraints.

One point to note is that for both Germany and Japan, but particularly the latter with its immigration averse politics, falling population as the century progresses will mean that it becomes easier to provide for their energy needs from internally produced renewables, as well as due to technological progress.


The Latitude of Japan is the same as the East Coast of the USA. Also, Japan the same latitude as France/Spain/Portugal/Italy & West Coast US. Japan also has a wine growing region.



As I noted, perhaps surprisingly to some as I have not lived there ( ;-) ) I am and have been for many years au fait with the latitude of Japan and Tokyo, and how it compares to places in Europe and the US, including New York, which is much more akin to the latitude of Madrid than Northern Europe.

And although it is important, the ease of providing renewables in quantity at good price is not solely about latitude.

Anyway, that seems to be the collective opinion of engineers responsible for such matters in Japan, as they are making plans and investing money in the expectation that they will need considerable imports of liquid fuels from elsewhere to decarbonise if nuclear remains a no-no.


I have just found out that China is planning a 400km green hydrogen pipeline from Inner Mongolia to Beijing:


That is a relatively short distance, and overland for an electric cable would of course be easier than undersea, so it appears that they reckon that converting the electricity on site to hydrogen then piping it is competitive.

And Switzerland reckons that it needs to import renewables in the form of hydrogen:


So perhaps it is possible to stand the usual arguments about the greater efficiency of using electricity in batteries due in part to less processing steps on its head:

If you have hydrogen, why convert it to electricity outside of the vehicle, when using it for power inside it means that you can also provide heat etc for the occupants and to keep the system at optimum temperature?

Should Prof Antonelli's manganese kubas -1 pan out, then it would be way more compact and cost a lot less per KWh of storage capacity than batteries.

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