Is Toyota’s new CEO introducing a brand new, pro-EV technique? Effectively, possibly.

EV boosters are hopeful that Toyota’s new CEO Koji Sato will preside over a brand new period on the world’s second-largest automaker, reworking the electrification laggard into a pacesetter.

In a current “New Management Policy & Direction Announcement,” three of Toyota’s prime execs assured us that the corporate is severe about electrification, but in addition reaffirmed a dedication to a “multi-pathway answer,” during which hybrids and hydrogen will play main roles.

“We’ll completely implement electrification, which we are able to do instantly,” mentioned new President and CEO Koji Sato. “To steadily cut back CO2 emissions…we’ll promote the sensible popularization of electrified autos. We’ll strengthen gross sales of hybrid electrical autos, together with in rising markets, and improve the variety of plug-in hybrid electrical car choices. We’ll increase our lineup of battery electrical autos, or BEVs, which signify one vital choice, over the subsequent a number of years. And we will even speed up tasks for the conclusion of the hydrogen society that lies simply past.”

Toyota’s new CEO Koji Sato

It’s vital to know that, to Toyota, “electrification” contains hybrids and hydrogen autos. The best way we parse the execs’ statements, what they’re speaking about is a gradual shift, not a revolution (to be truthful, this imaginative and prescient of a gradual and orderly transition appears to be the prevailing view in most automakers’ government suites).

The execs are definitely speaking about pure EVs—of their statements, the phrase “battery” was used 18 instances, and “BEV” occurred 13 instances. In the meantime, “hybrid” was talked about 11 instances, and “hydrogen” reared its head 8 instances.

And sure, they do intend to take motion. Govt Vice President Hiroki Nakajima, who will probably be in control of merchandise, introduced that Toyota plans to launch ten new BEVs by 2026, and these are anticipated to ship 1.5 million models of annual gross sales. The corporate additionally plans to launch “next-generation BEVs” with double the driving vary of at the moment’s fashions.

Maybe the largest information merchandise within the announcement was that Toyota plans to develop a brand new technology of PHEVs that includes an electrical vary higher than 200 km (124 miles), which might permit most journeys to be made on electrical energy (whereas preserving such options as oil adjustments and belt and hose replacements).

Hydrogen gas cells stay very a lot part of Toyota’s technique, though the corporate could also be transferring away from their use in passenger vehicles.

“For FCEVs, we’ll pursue mass manufacturing centered on business autos,” mentioned Mr. Nakajima, who went on to repeat the identical speaking factors that hydrogen followers have relied on for years: hydrogen is light-weight, so “the car is just not as heavy as a battery EV,” and “refueling can also be a lot faster.” (As battery expertise continues to enhance, these marginal benefits appear more likely to disappear over the subsequent few years.)

Most of our colleagues within the EV media additionally appear to be underwhelmed by Toyota’s current bulletins. CleanTechnica writes that the slumbering large “is starting to stir,” though “it could be they’ve left it too late.”

Electrek famous that though 1.5 million EV gross sales could sound like quite a bit, it will signify lower than 15% of Toyota’s complete gross sales, and simply barely extra EVs than Tesla offered final 12 months.

A 124-mile PHEV does sound intriguing, however Autocar and others famous that there are severe questions on their real-world emissions. A 2022 report from the International Council on Clean Transportation discovered that real-world CO2 emissions from plug-in hybrids had been sometimes far increased than the measurements given of their approval course of.

Sources: Toyota, Electrek, Green Car Reports, Autocar, CleanTechnica