Sometime the future, all vehicles may run on electricity and there will no longer be vehicles powered by fossil fuels – petrol or diesel. However, before that time comes, there is a period of transition which has begun as more companies announce plans to provide ‘electrified’ vehicles in their near-future line-ups. Such vehicles are deemed ‘electrified’ as they will also have an electric motor in the powertrain like what is in hybrid models today.
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) is aiming for electrified vehicles to account for more than 50% its new vehicle sales by around the end of the next decade, according to a plan outlined. This will require a significant acceleration in the development and launch of more such vehicles to add to the existing ones that include the Mirai, which is a fuel-cell electric vehicle.
By around 2025, every model in the Toyota and Lexus line-up around the world will be available as either a dedicated electrified model or have an electrified option. The company said it would no longer develop models without an electrified version, ie with only a petrol or diesel engine.
By around 2030, Toyota aims to have annual sales exceeding 5.5 million electrified vehicles, or more than half its projected global sales total. The figure includes more than one million zero-emission vehicles. Toyota will make available more than 10 battery electric models worldwide by the early 2020s, starting in China, before entering other markets. The gradual introduction to Japan, India, U.S. and Europe is expected. The company’s fuel-cell electric vehicle line-up will be expanded for both passenger and commercial vehicles in the 2020s.
The hybrid vehicle line-up will also grow with further development of the Toyota Hybrid System II used in the current-generation Prius and other models. Toyota aims to introduce a more powerful version in some hybrid models, develop simpler hybrid systems for select models and expand its plug-in hybrid vehicle line-up in the 2020s.
Current limitations with battery technology are also being addressed, particularly energy density, weight, packaging and cost. Toyota has been actively developing next-generation solid-state batteries and aims to commercialise the technology by the early 2020s. Recently, it announced a collaboration with Panasonic to do a feasibility study of a joint automotive prismatic battery business. Prismatic designs can reduce weight and cost, as well as optimise packaging efficiency with fewer cells required for a given voltage.