You can not say Toyota would have no experience with electric drives. On the contrary: Hardly anyone has more. The Prius has been on the market for 20 years and is now also available as a plug-in hybrid. Added to this is the Mirai fuel cell limousine, which has also been available in Germany since the end of 2015. Toyota and the premium subsidiary Lexus now have nine million hybrid cars on the road worldwide. The group is thus the undisputed world market leader in alternative drives. But Japan's largest automobile manufacturer has so far not offered its customers a battery-electric vehicle the way it does smart, the way Renault, BMW, Opel and Volkswagen do. Why not? From an official point of view, it was already said in 2012: The pure electric drive is more for scooters and mobility aids. The hybrid has priority.
Now one seems to rethink the matter. In the future, electric cars will be developed in a new division, a merger of TMC (Toyota Motor Corporation) with the suppliers Toyota Industries, Aisin Seiki and Denso. This in-house joint venture has the opportunity to leverage all of the Group's expertise and resources, serving as the "driver of innovation", according to President Akio Toyoda. In three years, the first EVs (Electric Vehicles) will be on the road, just in time for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Like all hybrid models, they will be based on the newly developed TNGA platform (Toyota New Global Architecture). On it are already the Prius and the recently introduced crossover C-HR.
Delicate attempts to bring pure electric cars on the market, there were some at Toyota. Eight years ago, at about the Detroit Motor Show, the EV study of an IQ was presented. At that time it was announced that 2012 come with a production model. In fact, there was a prototype (premiere in Paris), but the project was discontinued. One could react at any time, if the market demands it, it was called rather defensive from the European center in Brussels. 2010 invested Toyota around 100 million dollars in the Californian company Tesla. The goal was the development of an electric RAV4. It was planned to produce 2.600 units over three years. Who goes back further ends at 1997. At that time Toyota offered a limited small series of RAV4.
The new announcement, to build electric cars, certainly should not have been uninvited by the competition. Chevrolet introduces the Bolt this year on the very important American market for Toyota, Opel accordingly in Europe the Ampera-e. Promise up to 500 kilometers range. Smart comes with two electrically powered city cars. Nissan renews 2018's Leaf, with over 250.000 units of the bestselling electric cars in the world. Partner Renault has successfully Zoe on the road for years. The French PSA Group wants to offer electrically powered compact models and crossover from 2019. And Korea is also moving. Hyundai has now the Ioniq in the trade and comes 2018 with the Tuscon Fuel Cell. Daughter Kia sells the soul EV.
In parallel, Toyota is consistently pursuing its global hybrid strategy and reducing diesel engines in Europe. The bill seems to work. The small car Yaris - the new generation comes 2017 - drives today without diesel. 40 percent of buyers opt for a hybrid drive. In the Golf class, the Auris drives again with Hybrid. It is quite possible that the next Avensis (we only have it as a station wagon) will use this technology. Toyota's engineers have calculated that from the first Prius 1997 to date all hybrid models sold have saved about 67 million tons of CO2 compared to conventional cars in their class.
It will be exciting with the Supra, the Toyota developed together with BMW and on the basis of which Bayern put their next Z4 Roadster. The Supra, however, remains a coupe and is said to have its debut in the fall at the Tokyo Motor Show after 16 years of abstinence and 2018 go on sale. As Topmotorisierung recent information is a biturbo V6 hybrid provided. Not a few industry experts even speculate that BMW contributes its straight-six. With regard to crash tests and design of the front end, this would make more sense on the cost side. Whether the typical Supra customer joins the deal is another matter.
Of course, Toyota develops not only hybrid side, but also in conventional engines on. And not too close. By the end of 2021, a total of nine engines in 17 versions, four transmissions in ten versions and six hybrid systems in ten versions to come on the market. It starts this year with an 2,5-liter gasoline engine, which is said to have one of the world's highest thermal efficiencies among the gasoline engines in its class with 40 percent. The four-cylinder is initially used in the Camry. The mid-size sedan recently celebrated its premiere at the Detroit auto show. This engine is also designed for hybrid use.
Within four years, according to internal planning, at least 60 percent of all Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in Japan, China, Europe and the US will be equipped with the new drives. By then, they want to reduce CO2 fleet emissions by at least 15 percent. And there is also a distant goal: until 2050, Toyota intends to lower the CO2 emissions of all new cars sold by 90 percent and operate all its factories CO2-neutral. (Michael Specht / SP-X)