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South Africa's foremost electric mobility platform

  • Writer's pictureIan McLaren

Toyota announces the inclusion of EV within its broad plan towards reduced emissions

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

…including the potential introduction of an all-electric bakkie.

Reiterated by Toyota South Africa at its annual State of the Motor Industry (SOMI) address, this leading global automotive manufacture recently outlined its plans towards drastically reducing its carbon footprint over the coming decade.

Established leaders in the field of hybrid drivetrain technology, it stands to reason this stop-gap solution will remain a priority within this strategy. Acknowledging the increased pace of development within the field of all-electric mobility, though, Toyota seems to have had a change of heart when it comes to the incorporation of this technology within its broader plans.

“We will continue to advance initiatives in all areas of powertrain development, including hybrid, electric and hydrogen,” stated company President, Akio Toyoda, at a recent global media event. “Energy plays a critical role in achieving carbon neutrality. That is exactly why Toyota is committed to providing a diversified range of carbon-neutral options to meet whatever might be the needs and situations in every country and region. It is not us but local markets and our customers who decide which options to choose. As for why we try to keep so many options, in terms of business management, one might think it’d be more efficient to focus on fewer choices. However, we believe that quickly adapting to changes in the future is more important than trying to predict the future, which is uncertain. That is why we want to keep options available for our customers until the right path is clear.”

A well-documented driving enthusiast, Toyoda announced, “We need to reduce CO2 emissions as much as possible, as soon as possible. We are now at a point where a safer more fun-to-drive EV can be developed. It is not any more just a business decision.”

Included within Toyota’s commitment towards becoming completely carbon-neutral by 2035 is the introduction of up to 30 battery-electric vehicles by 2030. This portfolio will be spread across a range of all-electric Lexus products, as well as commercial offerings throughout the group.

Design chief at Toyota, Simon Humphries, explains; “Our strength is understanding what customers really want. The biggest challenge is to increase customer acceptance of carbon neutrality.”

While the first all-electric product from the brand is the (yet to be confirmed for South Africa) Lexus UX300e derivative, Toyota’s first ground-up battery-electric offering will be its so-called bZ4X SUV. With bZ denoting the brand’s “beyond Zero” strategy, the sister car to the already announced Subaru Solterra will be offered globally with a choice of either a 150 kW front-wheel drive setup or 160 kW (two 80 kW motors on each axle) all-wheel drive arrangement. This package is fitted with a 71.4 kWh battery and boasts a claimed operating range of up to 450 kilometres.

Also displayed at the brand’s recent global media event were Toyota-badged concept examples of a future all-electric mid-size SUV, compact SUV, small crossover, mid-size saloon, large SUV (7-seater), a two-seater sports car and a Hilux-sized double-cab pick-up.

With Lexus’ all-electric future confirmed, a recently unveiled RZ 450e SUV looks set to be joined by a battery-electric sports coupé in the coming months. Also touted is an electrified replacement for the legendary LFA supercar.

Via a substantial financial investment in an EV future – including expediting the development of solid-state battery technology – Toyota forecasts that by 2030 around one third of its 10-million annual sales will be made up of all-electric products.

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