Japanese auto giant becomes latest manufacturer to beef up EV investment plans with new $35bn strategy

Toyota has today announced wide-ranging new plans to invest 4tr yen ($35bn) to develop a line-up of at least 30 battery electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030.

Announcing the new strategy this morning, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said the company was aiming to deliver total global battery electric vehicle sales of 3.5 million by the end of the decade, and also confirmed its Lexus brand would aim for 100 per cent battery electric mix in Europe, North America, and China by 2030 

Hailing the new line-up as the company’s “showroom of the future”, Toyoda hailed the potential for battery EVs to slash emissions and meet growing customer demand for green transport options.

“We will not only add battery EV options to existing vehicle models but will also offer a full line-up of reasonably priced mass-production models, such as the bZ series, to meet the needs of all kinds of customers,” he said. “By doing so, we hope to deliver to customers around the world the unique and beautiful styling as well as fun-to-drive aspects of battery EVs, and the experience of a life with battery EVs.” 

The move – which follows a similar ramping up of EV investment plans from the likes of Ford, VW, Nissan, and GM in recent months – represents something of a shift in strategy from Toyota, which has faced criticism in some quarters for its focus on hybrid cars rather than pure EVs and its recent refusal to sign up to an initiative at the COP26 Climate Summit calling for an end to sales of new fossil-fuel cars by 2040.

However, Toyoda today defended the company’s continued investment in hybrid and other models, alongside its increased interest in battery EVs.

“It is not us but local markets and our customers who decide which options to choose,” he said. “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.”

In related news, Volkswagen has reportedly confirmed plans for a new electric campervan, modelled on its iconic California campervans. The ID. California is expected to hit roads from 2025 and will be based on the VW ID. Buzz van, which is due to start production in Hanover from next year.

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