The BEV-loving head of Toyota's new unit fields a rather direct question from shareholders. What is his vision for the team formed in May?
Can Toyota beat Tesla?
As shown by the shareholder proposal, the market holds high expectations for BEVs as a key option for achieving carbon neutrality.
When Toyota is criticized for lagging on BEVs, Tesla is often cited as the reference point.
In light of Toyota’s announcement that it will invest more in battery plants and begin producing BEVs in the U.S. in 2025, a shareholder questioned whether the company would be able to keep pace with Tesla.
Executive Vice President Yoichi Miyazaki responded first, explaining Toyota’s multi-pathway approach of decarbonizing through diverse options.
Toyota’s chief scientist, Executive Fellow Gill Pratt, also emphasized that, from a scientific perspective, the optimal strategy for dealing with diverse conditions is to prepare a diverse range of solutions.
Next, as chair Akio called on Takero Kato, president of the BEV Factory
, Toyota’s dedicated BEV unit newly launched in May.
＊ Integrates all BEV development, production, and business processes with the aim of enabling speedier decision-making and execution. The unit’s next-generation BEVs will first reach the market in 2026, and are expected to make up 1.7 million of the 3.5 million BEVs Toyota plans to sell in 2030.
Prompted by the chairman, Kato shared his passion and vision for the new role.
I love BEVs. Through BEVs, I want to change the future of cars, monozukuri, and work.
First, the cars. We will aim for the same cruising range as the hybrid vehicles that have been so popular. This is a big task.
We want people to feel Toyota’s unique character in the BEV products we create and deliver.
Next, monozukuri. We want to change our vehicle structure and halve the length of our production lines, and reduce or eliminate physically strenuous work, protecting Japanese monozukuri and creating a happy workplace for an aging population.
Finally, there is the way we work. In the current era, I believe speed is the key.
Our team brings together all functions of a company, not just development. Our team shares the same concerns of the genba and holds discussions every day.
At the same time, working with new partners will enable all of us to come up with new, richer ideas.
Everything is new, so we’re very excited! Our excitement and fun doing our jobs will surely be conveyed to everyone.
I love BEVs. I said it twice. I wanted to convey this feeling, and with your support, we will do our best.
As chair, Akio followed up on President Kato’s enthusiastic response .
I don't know if love can beat Tesla. However, cars made by engineers who love them will move people's hearts.
We hope you'll look forward to the BEVs that we create.