Toyota is reportedly planning a full-scale entry into electric vehicles, in the wake of the motor industry switching from diesel to all-electric vehicles.
Toyota aims to develop an electric vehicle that can run more than 300km on a single charge, according to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review.
The platform for models such as the Prius hybrid or Corolla sedan is reportedly being considered for use in building an electric sport utility vehicle.
The publication says Toyota’s electric vehicle launch could coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, when the world will be watching Japan.
The new EVs would be particularly aimed at the US and Chinese markets, where authorities are actively encouraging the take-up of cleaner electric vehicles by offering purchasers subsidies. An internal organisation specialising in electric vehicle planning and development is to be set up within Toyota/
“We want to get ready to consider the future release of electric vehicles,” Toyota executive vice president Takahiko Ijichi said in Tokyo this week.
Up until now, Toyota has had success with hybrid vehicles, such as the Prius range, which combine fuel and battery power.
“We still consider fuel cell vehicles the ultimate eco-cars,” said Ijichi.
The company had expected battery performance and cost, with lengthy charging times, to limit the popularity of electric vehicles.
However rapid progress has been made in recent years in improving battery performance. A Toyota official also admitted Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal had prompted mainly European manufacturers to speed up the shift to electric vehicles.
Nikkei said Toyota was expected to devote unprecedented sums of money towards technology research.
It said Toyota had already worked with competitors such as Fuji Heavy Industries, Mazda and Nissan, in supplying core parts developed for its hybrid vehicles.