Toyota hasn’t been saying much about their future plans with autonomous technology and electrification. Seeing as how Toyota ahead of the market for electrified vehicles with the Prius, the public has high expectations for this manufacturer. Well, just because they aren’t airing their research in public like a startup looking for funding doesn’t mean they aren’t hard at work. Toyota wants the world to know that they have a lot of experience working with electrification and they are not behind their competitors.
From the beginning, Toyota has had their eyes set on hybrid vehicles. This still remains true to this day. Although the company is working on solid-state batteries, they won’t be brought to market until the early 2020s. Once their batteries hit the market, the manufacturer will begin working on fully electric vehicles. At this point, hybrid cars have been doing perfectly fine for the company, allowing them to spend their resources on battery development.
They believe that their batteries will make electric vehicles more viable for all drivers. With their solid-state batteries, ranges will be increased, and the overall costs of EV maintenance will be cheaper. At this point in time, Toyota believes that their current plan will work out better for them in the long run. Once fully electric vehicles become more practical, EV sales will begin to rise. At that point, the company will make the shift over to electrifying their cars completely and halt hybrid production.
Personally, I think this is a great plan for Toyota. Consumers that are unsure about electric cars tend to try out hybrid vehicles first. If that’s the case, they will likely buy a hybrid that is offered by Toyota. By the time the majority of the world decides they want to go fully electric, Toyota will have their batteries perfected and more than enough manufacturing capacity to meet demand. That means even more money will begin falling into Toyota’s hands. At that point, the company will make it’s full conversion to electric vehicle manufacturing and capitalize on shifting consumers.
Unlike most car manufacturers, Toyota is doing a great job of playing things by ear. The company isn’t being forced to shift production yet, but they’re ready to make the change at any moment. They don’t have a major scandal like Volkswagen or the need to get ahead of larger competitors like Tesla. Instead of wasting resources trying to compete with the current (smaller) electric car manufacturers, they are developing batteries to dominate that part of the market in the future. Their car sales have been doing well lately, showing that there’s no reason for a stable company to start transitioning this early in the game.