Toyota overhauling EV strategy to keep up with industry’s fast adoption – report

Alexi Falson

The world’s largest auto manufacturer, Toyota, is reportedly going back to the drawing board to overhaul its current electric vehicle strategy, with new plans said to by very-much inspired by EV giant, Tesla.

A report from Reuters cites four sources close to Toyota’s plan who say that the company has stopped 30 of its current R&D projects and could double-down on investments in a big way to catch up with the competition.

The report states that the new plan would be a “dramatic shift for Toyota” that would “rewrite the $38 billion EV rollout plan the Japanese automaker announced last year” to better compete with brands such as Tesla.

According to sources close to the matter, Toyota underestimated just how quickly battery-electric vehicles would take off, and is now looking to pivot its business plan to make up for the lost time. Toyota is said last year it is planning to offer 30 electric vehicle offerings by 2030, but that figure is set to increase.

The sources have reportedly said the company has commissioned a working group to help shape its future electric vehicle plans, which could include a revised take on the e-TNGA electric vehicle platform to help cut down on manufacturing costs and focus on electric, rather than hybrid drive systems.

That group has been nicknamed the ‘BR’ group, standing for the ‘business revolution’ group, and is reportedly headed up by Toyota’s former chief competitive officer, Shigeki Terashi. One of the sources mentioned in the report said: “What’s driving Mr Terashi’s effort is the EV’s faster-than-anticipated takeoff and rapid-fire adoptions of cutting-edge technologies by Tesla and others.”

In order to catch up, Toyota is reportedly looking to sign deals with new suppliers, redesign the thermal control of each battery pack and even invest in a new casting machine to reduce the cost and complexity of mass-producing battery packs.

While Toyota has been one of the pioneering forces of hybrid powertrains, the company’s electric vehicle plans have, so far, been somewhat underwhelming.

It has revealed the bZ4x battery-electric SUV which has been delayed until mid-2023 here in Australia, and is the result of a joint-venture alongside Subaru with its Solterra.

The bZ4x uses a 71.4kWh battery pack and is offered in a front-wheel drive single motor or all-wheel drive dual-motor layout with range figures standing between 460-500km.

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