Published on June 23rd, 2021 | by Subhash Nair0
Why Toyota Isn’t Putting All Its Focus On BEVs
Toyota Chief Technology Officer explains why they aren’t 100% in on battery electric vehicles.
Yesterday, Toyota held its 117th ordinary shareholders’ meeting. Of the 11 questions asked by shareholders, one stuck out. Toyota was one of the first companies to push for the electrification of consumer vehicles when they introduced the first Prius over 20 years ago.
Since then, they’ve split their research & development up between various power solutions for vehicles. They still produce plenty of ICE-powered vehicles, but their carbon neutrality objective seems to split itself between hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, battery electric vehicles and even hydrogen-fueled engines too.
A shareholder asked:
“The all-round strategy requires a considerable amount of investment. Wouldn’t it just be better to spend management resources exclusively on battery electric vehicles (BEVs)?”
The Chief Technology Officer of Toyota, Masahiko Maeda took the question.
Here’s his answer:
Toyota is working on a full (all-round) lineup of vehicles for electrification, and I explained this at the announcement of our financial results the other day.
President Toyoda says customers have the final say. I believe that Toyota has long been building relationships with its customers.
Using the word “strategy” might make something seem like it’s the main objective, but, as a result of pursuing customer convenience and always responding to customer requests, the cars that Toyota offers have come to form a full lineup.
I think the same is true in achieving carbon neutrality when considering vehicles that emit as little CO2 as possible.
Because BEVs are getting a lot of attention right now, they might seem like the only answer to some people. However, when we listen to what our customers have to say, while some people prefer BEVs, it is also true that others find that, with the current technology, BEVs are not yet convenient enough.
Due to our relationships with our customers from the past, we need to live up to the expectations of customers who have trusted Toyota up until now, and even when electrification becomes a necessary technology for our customers in the carbon-neutral era, we will continue to offer a full lineup.
We believe that it is best to provide customers with not only BEVs, but also a variety of other options, such as HEVs, PHEVs, FCEVs, and hydrogen-fueled engines.
In short, battery electric vehicles may seem like the most logical approach, but there are still many limitations to the technology that other approaches can resolve. Since customers exist today that are not convinced of BEVs, Toyota should explore the alternatives.