Toyota is considering a major plan to alter course on its EV strategy. The automaker has suspended work on some EV projects as it looks to develop a better, cheaper EV platform.
Reuters reports that several unnamed sources within Toyota have talked about the plan that could see it reconsider its $38 billion EV rollout program. A team within the company has been tasked with outlining a new strategy to improve its existing e-TNGA EV platform or come up with a new, better one by early next year.
Although the plan is still being formulated, it could mean the early retirement of the e-TNGA platform, which was conceived under the company’s old thinking. Designed to be built alongside Toyota’s internal combustion vehicles, a wholly new platform could allow the company to reduce costs.
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Introduced in 2019, the bZ4X was the first vehicle built on the flexible e-TNGA platform, but it was made at a time when Toyota assumed that it would only need to sell about 3.5 million EVs per year by 2030.
That would amount to about a third of its current annual output, but as EV sales grow faster than expected, automakers now forecast that electric vehicles will account for half of new car sales by 2030.
“What’s driving [this new] effort is the EV’s faster-than-anticipated takeoff and rapid-fire adoptions of cutting-edge innovations by Tesla and others,” an unnamed source said.
By creating a new platform, Toyota could engineer a new architecture from the ground up, as Volkswagen, Mercedes, GM, and others have done. That, however, could take as many as five years, which may mean that the better option is to extend the usefulness of the e-TNGA platform by pairing it with new technology.
Toyota will work at the supplier level to bring down costs and the company is also looking at ways to improve thermal battery management to help make batteries smaller and reduce costs.
Regardless of what happens, the new plan has reportedly led to the suspension of work on some projects. According to documents reviewed by Reuters, the Toyota Compact Cruiser crossover and the battery-electric version of the Crown, as well as some of the 30 other EV projects announced in December, have been put on hold while Toyota sorts its EV future out.
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Asked for confirmation regarding this development, Toyota sent us the following statement:
“In order to achieve carbon neutrality, it is essential not only to develop our own technologies, but also to collaborate with various partners and suppliers, including those in the automotive industry. We are always actively discussing and working with key stakeholders on a variety of topics, but we have no details to share at this time regarding development projects beyond those we have already disclosed.”
While much of the rest of the industry has made big investments in electric vehicles, Toyota has been a proponent of developing other technologies. Its reticence to join the EV revolution (and its support of anti-environmental politicians) has made it a target for environmental activists and investors. This move may be a recognition that it has misjudged the electric vehicle market.