On December 14, Toyota Motor Corporation held a briefing on its battery electric vehicle (BEV) strategy at MEGA WEB in Tokyo.
As reported by the media, Toyota announced at the briefing that it is boosting its plans for BEV sales in 2030 from 2 million to 3.5 million units and that Lexus is aiming for BEVs to account for 100 percent of its sales in Europe, North America, and China by the same year, followed by BEVs accounting for 100 percent of its sales globally starting in 2035.
The ambitious figures and the array of planned-to-be-launched BEVs on the stage at the briefing led some observers to suggest that Toyota, which had been viewed by some as not having a positive position on BEVs, had changed its policy and shifted to focusing on BEVs. However, in his presentation, President Akio Toyoda stressed the importance of having diverse options. He also shared his sentiments regarding the people of the automotive industry.
Below, Toyota Times shares the full text of Akio’s presentation on BEVs, which represent one of the most promising options for achieving carbon neutrality. The speech illustrates Toyota’s approach to BEVs and other solutions.
Beyond the impactful figures of BEV sales in the future, the presentation became a hot topic on social media, as what viewers first thought was the announcement of five new BEV models surprisingly exceeded everyone’s expectations after a second unveiling.
Also, while there was no official mention of who provided the briefing’s opening voice-over, it was someone who Toyota Times readers would easily identify. Please be sure to check out the video of the briefing as well.
Toyota’s part for carbon neutrality
Welcome to Toyota’s “showroom of the future.”
Since its being established in 1999, MEGA WEB has had over 127 million visitors. Over its 20 years, the showroom has shown people many dreams and options for happiness.
This is why we want to have today’s presentation here at the soon-to-close MEGA WEB, as our “showroom of the future.”
That future is not one you only dream about. It is a future that will come to you soon. Let’s open it now.
When the opening video ended and the venue lit up, Akio and five new different types of vehicles filled the stage. After presenting the vehicles with both arms outstretched, Akio began to speak.
Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us today. Today, I would like to talk about Toyota’s strategy for achieving carbon neutrality—particularly our strategy for battery electric vehicles, which represent one of the most promising options.
I believe that achieving carbon neutrality means realizing a world in which all people living on this planet continue to live happily. We want to help realize such a world. This has been and will continue to be Toyota’s wish and our mission as a global company.
For that challenge, we need to reduce CO2 emissions as much as possible, as soon as possible.
We are living in a diversified world and in an era in which it is hard to predict the future. Therefore, it is difficult to make everyone happy with a one-size-fits-all option. That is why Toyota wants to prepare as many options as possible for our customers around the world.
We believe that all electrified vehicles can be divided into two categories, depending on the energy that they use.
One category is that of “carbon-reducing vehicles”. If the energy that powers vehicles is not clean, the use of an electrified vehicle, no matter what type it might be, would not result in zero CO2 emissions.
The other category is that of “carbon-neutral vehicles”. Vehicles in this category run on clean energy and achieve zero CO2 emissions in the whole process of their use. We at Toyota will do our utmost to realize such vehicles.
5 Toyota bZs revealed
Today, we would like to present to you what we have been preparing for the future. Let’s start with the Toyota bZ series of our dedicated battery EVs.
The Toyota bZ means going “beyond Zero”.
Freedom of movement and fun to drive for all. Our goal is not only to reduce CO2 emissions and other negative impacts to zero. Our goal goes beyond those.
For the bZ series, we developed a dedicated platform for battery EVs to meet the diverse needs of the global market.
Akio walked up to the bZ series behind him and began to explain the highlights of each vehicle one by one.
The first model in the lineup is the bZ4X here, which we recently announced. Jointly developing it with Subaru enabled us to pursue smoothness and maneuverability as well as the drivability of a genuine SUV.
For its launch next year, we are preparing for the production of the bZ4X at Toyota’s Motomachi Plant right this very moment. We will soon deliver it to our customers.
Furthermore, we are expanding the bZ series lineup. Please have a look at these two models.
This midsize SUV has a beautiful silhouette that presages a new era for battery EVs. At just a single glance, its styling can invite you to want to get in and go for a drive.
And this is the most compact SUV in the series—a small battery EV with a comfortable interior designed with Europe and Japan in mind.
The more batteries you add to extend cruising range, the bigger, heavier, and more expensive a vehicle becomes. Because this SUV is a small vehicle, there is something we must be thorough and very particular about. And that is—power efficiency.
The important thing is to what degree we can increase a vehicle’s overall energy efficiency, in other words how much less energy a vehicle needs to run. This is exactly the technology that Toyota has been refining for more than 30 years.
Putting our best efforts into all aspects of these, with this vehicle, we are aiming for a power efficiency of 125 watt-hours per kilometer, which would be the highest in the compact SUV class.
And this is a midsize sedan that meets customers’ expectations for a first car.
We also have a large SUV with available third-row seats that allow families to experience fulfilling times together.
What do you think? We will not only add battery EV options to existing vehicle models but will also offer a full lineup of reasonably priced mass-production models, such as the bZ series, to meet the needs of all kinds of customers.
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.
Offering a full lineup of BEVs
Toyota is a global company supported by customers around the world.
The Toyota brand now offers more than 100 models of engine-only vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell electric vehicles in more than 170 countries and regions.
The Lexus brand has introduced more than 30 models of engine-only vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in more than 90 countries and regions.
Furthermore, we will expand the options for carbon-neutral vehicles by offering a full lineup of battery EVs. Specifically, we plan to roll out 30 battery EV models by 2030, globally offering a full lineup of battery EVs in the passenger and commercial segments.
Please take a look. This is Toyota’s greater battery EV lineup!
A new chapter for Lexus
With Akio’s arms once again stretched wide, the white wall of a curtain behind the bZ series cascaded down to reveal 11 more vehicles. Akio led the applause standing in front of a total of 16 BEVs.
Welcome to our showroom of the future!
First, let’s start with the Lexus brand. Lexus strives to be the brand that people who know authenticity choose at the end of the day. As brand holder, I continue to believe that.
Lexus has pursued unique styling and a unique driving signature, and, as a pioneer in hybrid electric technology, it has refined its electrification technology. And now, Lexus is embarking on a new chapter. Please watch this video.
Koji Sato, President, Lexus International & Chief Branding Officer
This car is Lexus’ very first dedicated battery-driven EV. We call it the RZ.
Akio: What’s the Z stand for?
Sato: Zero. We wanted to create a battery-powered EV that captures the Lexus spirit.
Akio: I want people to be able to identify that it’s a Lexus even as an EV. The 4 wheel contact sensation here is top notch.
Sato: Those sensations should be a consistent part of the Lexus experience. We want to ensure that nothing has been lost in the process of making a battery-driven EV.
Akio: While I do feel the 4 wheel contact sensation...this car feels a bit heavy. So, what happens if I were to go faster?
Sato: Be my guest.
Akio: What is this? It’s like night and day!
Sato: What do you think?
Akio: I’m seeing a whole new side of this car now!
Speaking as the master driver...I want a car that I want to keep driving forever! It should be environmentally friendly...but straight up fun to drive! Let’s make that car for Lexus’ new chapter with the Z brand.
Sato: I’m all for it.
Akio: Let’s do it.
Sato’s video message
This is the name of our electrification efforts here at Lexus.
Extracting the full potential of the vehicle through electrification technology… That is what electrification means to Lexus.
We will deliver a unique electrified Lexus that combines linear motor acceleration/deceleration, brake feeling and exhilarating handling to further pursue the joy of driving.
In particular, we believe that the battery EV will become the future symbol of Lexus as a model that most clearly expresses the evolution of the automobile brought about by electrification.
The latest of these models is the Lexus RZ.
The process of strengthening the fundamentals and pursuing the Lexus Driving Signature will not change even if it is a battery EV.
The endless pursuit of the Lexus Driving Signature will move to the next stage through development of the new sports battery EV.
With bold proportions and low ride height essential to a sports car, it will showcase the unique driving performance of a Lexus and become a model that symbolizes the future of the brand.
Acceleration time will be in the low 2 second range, cruising range over 700 km, and with the possible use of solid-state batteries in mind, we will aim to create a truly high-performance battery EV.
Through battery EVs, we will develop Lexus into a brand that offers a variety of experiences harnessing performance development that only a carmaker like Lexus could do and by honing the craft of making evermore personal products.
As the video concluded and the lights were turned back up, Akio once again took center stage, continuing to speak as the brand holder of Lexus.
Lexus will develop a next-generation battery EV sports car that inherits the driving taste, or the secret sauce, of the performance cultivated via the development of the LFA.
We will extend the driving taste refined this way to other models as we evolve Lexus into a brand centered on battery EVs.
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.
An EV for everyone
The vehicles you see behind the Lexus lineup－they are the diverse Toyota battery EVs. Now, please watch this video.
Simon Humphries, Design Senior General Manager
The world is becoming ever more diverse. People are increasingly confident in making their own choices to lead free and enjoyable lifestyles.
At Toyota we believe that truly good products create new experiences for the customer, enhancing their chosen lifestyle directions. From that point of view, each electric vehicle should be unique and special, not only those on dedicated platforms but also those related to existing models.
Whether that means building on Toyota’s off-road heritage to create new exciting recreational experiences or finding new ways to combine versatility with dynamic driving.
Commercial use models such as the e-palette will change the face of daily life in the city. But we will also challenge smaller size segments for new mobility solutions.
Compact ultra-versatility, will open up new and exciting possibilities for both work use and for youngsters. And new approaches for the smallest segments, such as "Made-for-sharing", where different variations cater to different business scenes.
And last, but certainly not least, car fans like Akio Toyoda will certainly not be disappointed.
The EV era is an opportunity and a chance for more variety and more fun!
An EV for you, an EV for me, and an EV for everyone.
Many years of accumulated experience gives Toyota a competitive edge
“An EV for everyone”. So, what did you think about Toyota’s battery EVs?
The future that we showed you today is by no means far away. Most of the Toyota battery EVs that we introduced here are models that will be coming out in the next few years.
We aim to achieve global sales of 3.5 million battery EVs per year by 2030.
Lexus aims to realize a full lineup of battery EVs in all vehicle segments by 2030 and to have battery EVs account for 100 percent of its vehicle sales in Europe, North America, and China, totaling 1 million units globally. And it aims for battery EVs to make up 100 percent of its global vehicles sales in 2035.
With that, Akio began to carefully explain Toyota’s BEV initiatives.
He walked the audience through all areas, starting with Toyota’s history of vehicle and battery development and the securing of resources and energy to achieve carbon neutrality, going even as far as to introduce initiatives at Toyota’s manufacturing sites.
To achieve these goals, we have invested in various areas for a long time.
In the area of vehicle development, in 1997, Toyota launched the Prius, the world’s first mass-production hybrid electric vehicle. But in fact, our development of battery EVs had started before that.
In 1992, we established the Electric Vehicle Development Division, and we introduced the RAV4 EV to the market in 1996.
After that, in the 2000s, we demonstrated our small prototype commuter EV “e-com” in various places.
Furthermore, in 2012, we introduced the “COMS”, an ultra-small EV, and the small “eQ” EV. Thus, we have long explored the potential of battery EVs.
We launched the “C+pod” and “C+walk” this year and have accelerated the development of battery EVs, including the “e-Palette”, that provide people with freedom of movement in various scenes.
At the same time that we started our development of battery EVs in the early 1990s, we also began our development of fuel cell electric vehicles, which run on hydrogen. In 2002, we introduced the Toyota FCHV to the market and went through various demonstrations, and in 2008, the vehicle was redesigned into the Toyota FCHV-adv.
Based on such long-term efforts, in 2014, the first-generation Mirai was finally launched.
Since then, using the technologies concerned to power other vehicles such as buses and large trucks, our fuel cell electric vehicles have also continued to evolve.
In the area of batteries, Toyota has continued to research, develop, and produce batteries in-house for many years.
In 1996, we established what is today Prime Earth EV Energy. While refining our technologies related to nickel-metal hydride batteries, we started accelerating the development of lithium-ion batteries in 2003.
Furthermore, since having established our Battery Research Division in 2008, we have been advancing research on solid-state batteries and other next-generation batteries.
Last year, we established Prime Planet Energy & Solutions to accelerate integrated efforts in the battery business.
Over the past 26 years, we have invested nearly 1 trillion yen and produced more than 19 million batteries. We believe that our accumulated experience is an asset that gives us a competitive edge.
Going forward, we will increase our new investment in batteries from the 1.5 trillion yen announced in September to 2 trillion yen, aiming to realize even more-advanced, high-quality, and affordable batteries.
When it comes to natural resources, Toyota Tsusho began conducting lithium and other surveys as early as in 2006 and has been working to secure stable sources.
And in the area of energy, Toyota Tsusho has been working to secure renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power generation for more than 30 years.
Furthermore, at manufacturing plants, we are aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 by continuously making steady improvements toward reducing energy use and by expanding the use of innovative production engineering technology.
In this diversified and uncharted era, it is important to flexibly change the type and quantity of products produced while keeping an eye on market trends.
We believe that the reduction in lead times and high-mix, low-volume production methods that we have cultivated through the Toyota Production System, along with the steady efforts of Japanese manufacturing, will enable us to be competitive going forward.
We will continue to advance initiatives in all areas together with many of our partners.
“The future is something to be created by all of us.”
Akio, who had thus far detailed Toyota’s sincere approach to BEVs, reached the emotional climax of his 25-minute presentation by concluding with a reiteration of Toyota’s reasons for adhering to a multi-solution strategy and his thoughts on an automotive industry united in striving to achieve carbon neutrality.
Energy plays a critical role in achieving carbon neutrality. At present, the energy situation varies greatly from region to region. That is exactly why Toyota is committed to providing a diversified range of carbon-neutral options to meet whatever might be the needs and situations in every country and region.
It is not us but local markets and our customers who decide which options to choose.
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.
We at Toyota aim to be a company that contributes to the global environment, seeks to bring happiness to people, acts, and stays close to its customers. To sum it up, we want to become a company that produces happiness for all, for both individuals and society.
We want to pass on an ever-better future for the children of today and those who will come after them. We always want the future to be brighter.
I believe that the future is something to be created by all of us together. Japan’s automotive industry is home to our 5.5 million colleagues who have supported Japanese manufacturing and mobility. And we have many more colleagues throughout the world.
If we all take action with unity of mind and with will and passion, we will be able to leave behind many smiling faces and a beautiful Earth for the next generation.
That is what I believe. And that is what we will achieve.
In the following article, Toyota Times will report in detail on the briefing’s Q&A session, which featured Akio, as well as Chief Branding Officer Sato and Senior General Manager Humphries, both of whom appeared in videos shown during the briefing, along with Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda.