Toyota is looking at mass-producing long-range electric vehicles that would hit the market around 2020, the Nikkei reported Monday. Without citing sources, the newpaper said the car maker would set up a team in early 2017 dedicated to developing electric cars that can travel more than 300km (186 miles) on a single charge.
The paper added that Toyota aims to begin selling its first long-range EV in 2020 in Japan as well as other markets such as California, and China, which is promoting a switch to EVs
If the information is confirmed, it would be a dramatic reversal of strategy for the japanese automaker.
For years, Toyota has been pushing on hybrids. The company didn’t believe in progress in batteries. However, rivals such as Nissan, Volkswagen Group and Tesla have touted pure electric cars as the most viable zero-emission vehicles for the future.
Toyota neither confirmed nor denied the report. The car maker just said it continued to develop various fuel-efficient technologies. The company will launch an all-new plug-in hybrid version of the Prius in the coming months. Until now, Toyota has promoted FCVs such as its Mirai sedan as the most sensible next-generation option to hybrids, since they have a similar driving range and refueling time to conventional cars.
The car maker has no reasons to give up hydrogen technology. It’s a way to offer zero emission vehicule for long mileage journeys. But, the company needs to have additional electric cars as well, in order to meet CO2 regulations and restrictions for inner city traffic.
Toyota has pledged to make all of its vehicles essentially emissions-free by 2050. That doesn’t mean EV vs fuel cell cars, but both.