October 21, 2021

Toyota's anxiety and odds on pure electric vehicles

According to the "Nihon Keizai Shimbun" report, Toyota Motor Corporation established the "EV Business Planning Office" on December 1 and is accelerating the mass production of pure electric vehicles (EV). For the first time in the world, Toyota has successfully mass-produced hybrid vehicles (HVs) and positioned the fuel-burning fuel cell vehicle (FCV) as the “ultimate eco-car”. Today's Toyota pays more attention to pure electric vehicles than ever before, from which it can be seen that the "agoke" of environmental changes and Toyota's unique "winning".

Toyota's anxiety and odds on pure electric vehicles

Toyota's third-generation Prius plug-in hybrid car

Not active for pure electric vehicles?

In late September, Toyota President Akio Toyoda visited the Paris International Motor Show. At this year's auto show, Germany's Daimler and Volkswagen have demonstrated the concept car of pure electric vehicles. After seeing the actions of European automakers, Akio Toyoda revealed to the surrounding, "Although the auto show is different from the real market, the transition to pure electric vehicles may accelerate, and we need to pay close attention."

In 1997, Toyota launched the world's first mass-produced hybrid car, the Prius. In 2014, it launched the fuel cell vehicle Mirai, which does not emit carbon dioxide during the driving process. Through these measures, Toyota has become more environmentally friendly. impression. Toyota Vice President Idi Chiron said, "We are developing all environmentally friendly models." But Toyota still left the impression that "the electric car is not active."

For example, Toyota released its environmental goals by 2050 in 2015. Among them, ambitious sales targets for hybrid vehicles and fuel cell vehicles. However, for pure electric vehicles, Toyota Managing Director Ise Qinggui only said that “the cruising range and charging time still have problems, suitable for short-distance driving. As the same vehicle as the existing passenger car, the hybrid car and the plug-in hybrid car ( PHV) is more suitable."

Why do you still have to solve the problem, but still have to develop a pure electric car? What prompted Toyota to do this is environmental regulations everywhere. California will start to strengthen supervision from the 2018 model, and Toyota's hybrid cars will no longer be mandatory for sale. In China, the world's largest auto market, the government promotes the popularity of pure electric vehicles through high subsidies. In the automotive industry, it is generally believed that the hybrid vehicles are the first, "China and the United States are squeezing the Toyota in the field of environmentally friendly vehicles through regulations."

However, these regulations have been published long ago. What made Toyota executives unexpectedly was the trend in Europe. Volkswagen took the opportunity of diesel engine exhaust emission fraud as an opportunity to express its transformation to pure electric vehicles. In June, Volkswagen announced that it will launch 30 pure electric vehicles by 2025, making pure electric vehicles account for 20-25% of global sales in 2025.

In October, there was another shocking news. Germany's "Der Spiegel" reported that the German Federal Senate demanded that engine cars be banned by 2030. In response, Toyota executives said, “Although it is extremely extreme, it proves that many people believe that it is no longer possible to maintain the status quo”, showing the need to accelerate the development of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) that do not emit carbon dioxide.

Fuel cell vehicle barrier

Of course, Toyota's first mass-produced fuel cell vehicles can also cope with zero emissions regulations. However, the production capacity of the main components of fuel cell vehicles is limited. By 2017, the annual production capacity will only reach 3,000. As a precondition for popularization, the construction of hydrogen refueling stations is also a subject. Toyota executives believe that "the construction of charging piles will advance faster because there are more companies involved in pure electric vehicles."

Toyota has positioned pure electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles together as the backbone of zero-emission vehicles, and the future focus will be on whether to develop competitive products. Toyota believes that hybrid vehicle technology, which is produced and sold at a scale of 1 million vehicles per year, can also be applied to pure electric vehicles. However, there are also voices inside the group that "the two are not exactly the same, and Toyota started late."

The key to Toyota's ability to counterattack lies in the lineup of the EV business planning office. Although the department was founded with only four members, the leader of the development of Toyota Prius was Toshima Koji. The other three people who assisted Toshima were from Denso, Aisin Seiki and Toyota Automatic Loom. Toyota executives said that “the company has been involved since the early stages of development, which is the first time in the company”.

Toyota management has been committed to fostering a sense of collective honor in recent years. Although sometimes there is a contradiction between the internal and wasted time, unity will increase efficiency. The research and development expenses (the actual expenses in FY2015) of the three group subsidiaries of the EV business planning office are more than 600 billion yen, and the Bosch, the world's largest company in the field of auto parts. The development of pure electric vehicles will also become the touchstone for the success of Toyota Group's cooperation.

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