According to a new report, Toyota is working to dramatically revamp its $38 billion plan to roll out new electric vehicles.
As more automakers invest billions of dollars and roll out new electric models, the Japanese automaker could be revamping their own plan to do so. Reuters reports, citing four people with intimate knowledge of the project, that Toyota is “considering a reboot” of its EV strategy to better compete with a rapidly growing market.
Just last December, the company outlined a plan to launch electric vehicles across virtually every segment. That included small SUVs like the FJ-styled Compact Cruiser concept, an electric Toyota Tacoma, a Lexus-branded sports car and much more. Now, sources say an internal group is responsible for outlining improvements to the plan by early next year. Changes may include marked changes to its existing electric platform, or a new approach and architecture altogether.
While that group is working on a plan, Toyota has reportedly paused several of the 30 EV projects it announced in December. However, those close to the project did not cite any specific examples of what’s on hold for the time being.
The changes are meant, in part, to address criticism that Toyota’s been too slow to adopt EVs.
Part of the process, according to the report, includes developing a next-generation version of the “e-TNGA” platform that underpins the new bZ4X crossover. Toyota developed that platform so it could build electric cars on the same lines as gasoline and hybrid models. EV adoption outpaced Toyota’s initial projections, though, and the reported need to change direction considers the rapid upswing in electric car sales and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies. Specifically, one of the sources cited Tesla, which is going full steam ahead with its “Full Self-Driving” technology, as well as other heavily invested automakers.
In charge of Toyota’s revised EV plans, per Reuters‘ interview, is Shigeki Terashi, the automaker’s former chief competitive officer. In addition to developing a next-gen platform, the report says Terashi is also weighing prolonging e-TNGA with new tech, as well as “retiring” the platform more quickly, in favor of a dedicated EV platform. Time is of the essence, as taking that last option could take roughly five years to carry out. That puts those potential new models on the roads by 2028 — as other automakers charge ahead with their electrification plans.
Most manufacturers cite 2030 as a major transition milestone. By then, at least most of major automakers’ portfolios will have electrified options, if they don’t completely phase out internal combustion for an all-EV lineup.
At this point, Toyota has not officially confirmed any changes, nor did the people interviewed go on the record by name due to the confidential nature of this discussion.
The bZ4X, for its part, is Toyota’s only battery-electric model. It suffered a serious recall that required a stop-sale, and the automaker only just restarted production earlier this month.