Toyota, the company that introduced the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle to the world, is now fully set on the fully electric future. The Japanese automaker plans to introduce 30 new battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2030.

Globally, in more than 170 countries, Toyota offers more than 100 models. These comprise internal combustion cars, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles and fuel-cell electric variants. The Aichi-based brand has now firmly set its sights on the BEV future, revealing a fleet of electric concepts for the showroom of the future.

Categorising carbon neutrality

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The company believes two categories of electric vehicles exist. The first comprises carbon-reducing cars, and the second is carbon-neutral vehicles. The firm aims to avoid producing vehicles that fall in the former. These are vehicles that, although electrified, aren’t powered by clean energy and, as a result, aren’t fully emissions-free.

In contrast to the first category, the second consists of, as mentioned, carbon-neutral vehicles. These are cars running on clean energy to achieve zero CO2 emissions. These are the type of EVs the Japanese automotive giant is focusing on. By 2030, Toyota aims to introduce a total of 30 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to the world. In addition, Toyota has set itself the goal of achieving a global sales figure of 3.5 million BEVs per annum before the start of the new decade.

“I believe that achieving carbon neutrality means realising a world in which all people living on this planet continue to live happily,” said Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corporation. “We want to help realise such a world. This has been and will continue to be Toyota’s wish and mission as a global company. For that challenge, we need to reduce CO2 emissions as much as possible, as soon as possible.”

‘beyond Zero’

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The first model in Toyota’s BEV line-up, the bZ4X, was jointly developed with Subaru. According to Toyota, this joint venture allowed it to pursue smoothness, manoeuvrability, and a genuine SUV’s drivability. Like future bZ (‘beyond Zero’) models, the bZ4X is underpinned by a dedicated BEV platform developed to meet the diverse needs of the global market.

The expansion of the bZ line-up will include a duo of new SUVs, a compact derivative and a midsize model. The former, most compact bZ variant in the series, is designed with Europe and Japan in mind. According to Toyota, owing to this BEV’s size, it has to be thorough and highly particular about power efficiency. With this model, Toyota aims for a power efficiency of 125 Wh/km, which the firm says should be the highest in the compact-SUV segment.

The fourth and fifth BEVs in the range come in the shape of a midsize sedan “that meets customers’ expectations for a first car” and a large SUV. Available with a three-row seating arrangement, the latter model, Toyota says, allows families to experience fulfilling times together.

EV fleet

In addition to the bZ models, Toyota revealed myriad other BEVs, including a bakkie and an SUV. Other concept EVs included a small SUV crossover, a compact cruiser EV, a bakkie and a sports EV. The firm further revealed a duo of van-like concepts, the Mid Box and Micro Box, and a people-carrier, the e-Palette, to form part of its commercial range.

Lexus electrified

On the Lexus front, Toyota’s luxury arm offers more than 30 derivatives comprising similar powertrains in more than 90 countries, as mentioned above. (It’s worth noting that Lexus South Africa’s model portfolio already includes an array of hybrid vehicles.)

Said Toyoda: “Lexus aims to realise a full line-up of BEVs in all vehicle segments by 2030 and to have BEVs account for 100 per cent of its vehicle sales in Europe, North America, and China, totalling one million units globally.” In terms of the rest of the world, Lexus aims to do the same five years later.

For its EV future, Lexus revealed a quartet of concepts. These are a large SUV, the RZ, a sedan, and a next-generation BEV sports car. The latter model inherits the performance cultivated by developing the company’s iconic LFA super sports car.

The performance-focused EV symbolises the future of the brand. According to the company, the bold yet sleekly styled sports car will boast a zero to 100 km/h acceleration time in the low two-second range, while the cruising distance will exceed 700 km.

“We will extend the driving taste refined this way to other models as we evolve Lexus into a brand centred on battery EVs,” said the company. “We can position batteries and electric motors to bring more freedom to battery EVs.”

“This freedom will allow us to be more attuned to our customers, such as by meeting the various needs of different regions, the various lifestyles of our customers, and, when it comes to commercial vehicles, everything from long-distance transport to last-mile delivery.”

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