While Toyota will offer their first high volume battery-electric cars in China next year due to the quotas there, Europeans will have to wait another two to three years before the vehicles are available for purchase.
According to Vice President Shigeki Terashi, Toyota will not introduce the first purely electric cars in Europe until 2022 or 2023. “We will start with smaller models,” said the manager at the Tokyo Motor Show. Terashi left it open whether these will be completely new models or electric versions of existing vehicles, such as the recently introduced Yaris Hybrid based on the TNGA platform.
Despite the recent drop in sales in China as a result subsidy cuts, Toyota is relying on the world’s largest electric car market – and is thus taking a different path than its Japanese competitor Honda. The day before, Honda had announced that it would speed up its electrical plans, especially in Europe, and prefer them to the rest of the world.
In China, Toyota wants to start with two fully-electric mid-range SUVs. These are BEV versions of the sister models C-HR and IZOA, built by Toyota’s joint ventures with GAC and FAW. But even these will not come until 2020 – much to the displeasure of Terashi. “But we have no battery electric cars in the market,” said the Toyota manager in Tokyo. “I have to accept that.”
It is also unclear what role the USA plays in Toyota’s electrical plans – will purely electric cars be offered there earlier than in Europe? In terms of sales, the US is the second largest electric car market in the world. According to Terashi, Americans in the mass market are less willing to pay more money for lower emissions. “To be honest, hybrid cars don’t sell so well in the USA,” says Terashi. With lower fuel prices, many customers have again switched from mid-range cars to SUVs and pickups.
“We would rather introduce a slightly larger electric vehicle in the USA,” Terashi said. But that is not yet in sight. It could come from the development cooperation with Subaru. When the first model based on the new electric SUV platform is to be launched, the companies did not specify when they presented the cooperation in June.
handelsblatt.com (in German)
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