Toyota’s celebrating its past, but also foreshadowing the near future.
On Wednesday, Toyota rolled its 30 millionth U.S.-built vehicle off its Indiana assembly line: a 2021 Sienna. The current generation is purely a hybrid minivan, shifting away from its forebears by moving toward electrification. That milestone in itself is a major step, even for an enormous player like Toyota. What’s more significant, though, is what that milestone foreshadows. While the brand pioneered hybrid technology, it’s taking things one step further by finally introducing volume battery electric models into the U.S. market this year.
“Toyota’s new electrified product offerings will give customers multiple choices of powertrain that best suits their needs,” says Toyota North America’s vice president of sales Bob Carter. To that end, the company says it will introduce three electrified models by the end of this year. Two will be pure battery-electric cars, while the other will be a plug-in hybrid. By 2025, Toyota aims to capture a greater share of the “alternative fuel vehicle” market. That includes EVs, hydrogen fuel cell cars and plug-in hybrids.
Right now, the automaker is developing a BEV-specific platform, called e-TNGA. Like Toyota’s “New Global Architecture” (hence TNGA), the new platform will underpin several Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the near future. After company president Akio Toyoda courted controversy by positing there was far too much hype surrounding EVs, the manufacturer will nonetheless throw its hat into the EV ring. While we’ll have to wait and see the long-term effects of this announcement, it will be interesting to see more competition emerge in the electric car market.
To date, Toyota’s only modern EV is the Japanese-specific C+pod. Check that out below: