Toyota announces major EV push for 2030

Derryn Wong

S$96bn investment, 30 EV models by 2030, targets 3.5m sales by 2030, Lexus to become a fully electric brand

Tokyo, Japan –
Toyota has announced a major push towards battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs) in what could be the biggest EV effort by a Japanese automaker to date.

Toyota president Akio Toyota broke the news at a briefing yesterday. The company will sink eight trillion Yen (or S$96bn) into developing an extensive lineup of EVs. Two trillion Yen will go to battery production alone, up from 1.5-million earlier announced.

Notably, Toyota will introduce 30 EV models by the end of the decade and target sales of 3.5-million cars. Its luxury brand Lexus will transition to become a fully-electric brand with a full lineup of EVs for all segments by 2030.

Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda

Speaking of EVs, Singapore’s first and largest EV event just ended – EV Weekend! But you can find out what you missed here:
EV Weekend kicked off on December 3 +
Activities at EV Weekend
5 Reasons to Visit, and 5 More
EV Weekend brand/panel livestream night 

The next LFA: powered by batteries? 

Lexus will become a fully electric brand and see an electric flagship performance coupe

That Lexus will become a fully-electrified brand is no surprise, given than currently full BEVs are still at a premium over normal ICE cars, and are expected to be for the next five years or so. Lexus is also furthest along the EV timeline – Toyota has no global EV models, but Lexus at least has the UX 300e.

The super-sexily-named Sports Battery EV will do 0-100km/h in around 2.5 seconds

“In particular, we believe that the Battery EV will become the future symbol of Lexus as a model that most clearly expresses the evolution of the automobile brought about by electrification,” said Toyoda.

Just as the LFA put Lexus on the map for exotic, high-performance cars, it looks as if the Sports Battery EV will do the same for it electrically. The two door sports car looks similar in size to the GR Supra, Toyoda said the aim for performance would be 0-100km/h in the ‘low two-second range’ and 700km of range, possibly using solid state technology.

Toyoda also previewed more Lexus models at the announcement: a four-door sedan that appears to be an electrified version of the IS, and a larger SUV. 

A more mundane (and realistic) car is the Lexus RZ – basically the upscale version of the BZ4X – with the first actual photos of the production car, the RZ450e, just revealed by Lexus on the same day. 

First look at the Lexus RZ, a small EV SUV that’s coming soon from Lexus

Toyota Gets BZ

Toyota BZ’s proposed lineup: compact SUV, a four-door sedan, BZ4X, coupe-crossover, large SUV

The core of the electric Toyota experience will be BZ, which stands for Beyond Zero, is Toyota’s fully-electric sub-brand/badge, and was announced earlier with the first model being the small crossover BZ4X. The car, which could land in Singapore as early as next year, was co-developed with Subaru, which has its own version the Solterra.

The first Toyota BZ car is the BZ4X small crossover, it will launch globally next year

BZ models will be fully electric and run on what we presume is dedicated electric platforms, but Toyota will not limit EV models to these platforms and electrify existing models if needed. 

“We will not only add battery EV options to existing vehicle models but will also offer a full line-up of reasonably priced mass-production models, such as the bZ series, to meet the needs of all kinds of customers,” said Toyoda. 

Toyota’s lineup of future EVs includes all manner of vehicles, and not just cars

Toyoda said the aim was to create a wide range of electric Toyotas to meet various needs from crossovers to off-roaders and even sports cars: “…we hope to deliver to customers around the world the unique and beautiful styling as well as fun-to-drive aspects of battery EVs, and the experience of a life with battery EVs,” he said.  

15 concept cars depicting (what we presume) will be the future EV models were shown at the briefing, though few details were shown. 

BZ Compact SUV: At the briefing, Toyoda mentioned that the efficiency aim for the car is just 12.5kWh/100km. Current EVs are large, heavy, and powerful and consume around 20kWh/100km. Building an efficient EV will reduce battery sizes and reign in weight.
BZ sedan: Camry-sized fully electric sedan 
BZ Large three-row SUV: “We will also have a large SUV with available third-row seats for families”
Non BZ but GR-badged, this is an electric, two-seat compact sports car
Toyota Compact Cruiser EV: “building on Toyota’s off-road heritage to create new exciting recreational experiences” 
How about an electric Hilux?

But is it enough? 

Toyota’s announcement is huge news looking at the scale of it, and it’s the largest effort by a Japanese automaker in the EV realm to date.

But it’s framed by the fact that European and other automakers have already made similar announcements earlier. Volkswagen just said it plans on half of its sales to be EVs by 2030 – at current figures that means around five-million cars globally.

Unlike other carmakers, Japanese auto brands have hedged their bets on EVs to date, relying on hybrids to drive electrification, waiting for solid-state battery tech to solidify, as well as looking at hydrogen as an alternative to EVs. But Toyota has also previously rebuffed accusations that it’s slow to load up on the EV arms race, and that it aims to bring to market solid-state battery tech quite soon.

“We want to leave all people with a choice, and rather than where or what we will focus on, we will wait a little longer until we understand where the market is going,” Toyoda said.

Honda showed more of its EV plans in October, and aims for just 10 EV models by 2030. Nissan has announced a similar EV effort earlier in November, but industry observers have noted that it heavily relies on hybrids and is far less ambitious in scale.

The Japanese have an undeniable advantage with hybrids, and hybrid cars will have a strong part to play, especially in the developing world. But whether this approach will give Japanese carmakers a tech advantage depends on if properly green hydrogen can become a credible alternative fuel, and when solid state batteries become a reality. 


About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's former chief editor was previously the editor for Top Gear Singapore and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment.

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