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Toyota sets deadline for electrification

Jump start: Electrified powertrains will proliferate across Toyota’s entire model range over the next seven years with each of its vehicles expected to sport the new powertrain options by about 2025.

Range-wide electrified powertrain options expected across Toyota models circa 2025

Toyota logo19 Dec 2017

TOYOTA Motor corporation expects its entire model range – including luxury brand Lexus – will feature at least one full-electric, hybrid or hydrogen fuel-cell variant by about 2025 and that the electrified vehicles will account for more than half of its global sales by the end of the next decade.

Currently, Toyota Australia’s hybrid line-up consists of the Corolla and new-generation Camry, as well as the Prius, Prius C and Prius V family, but in international markets the Yaris light car, C-HR small SUV, RAV4 crossover, Kluger high-riding wagon and Tarago people-mover are all offered with an electrified powertrain alternative.

Therefore, the car-maker’s remaining passenger car line-up – the 86 sportscar, LandCruiser Prado large SUV, LandCruiser 200 off-roader and HiLux-related Fortuner – will either need to be updated with electrification in the next seven years or possibly face deletion.

The 86 will likely be axed to make way for Toyota’s next sportscar, the BMW co-developed resurrected Supra, which is rumoured to sport a high-performance all-wheel-drive hybrid powertrain to lock horns against Honda’s new NSX and the perennial Nissan GT-R.

Meanwhile, Toyota LandCruiser chief engineer Sadayoshi Koyari told GoAuto at this year’s Frankfurt motor show that current hybrid technology was not reliable enough to underpin the brand’s rugged off-road large SUV.

However, work has already begun on improving Toyota’s Hybrid System II that underpins the latest Prius, and could expand into other model lines in future.

Toyota Australia’s commercial vehicles – the HiLux pick-up, HiAce van, LandCruiser 70 ute and Coaster bus – will also need to adopt electrified powertrains or face the axe by 2025.

However, instead of migrating the mild hybrid and plug-in systems from its passenger car range to its commercial division, Toyota said its hydrogen fuel-cell electric technologies will expand in the 2020s to its utilitarian vehicles in addition to its more mainstream offerings.

Overseas markets already have access to a Toyota hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) in the form of the Mirai sedan, but a FCEV will likely not be available in Australian showrooms until the refuelling infrastructure is developed.

As for Lexus Australia, only its RC two-seater and LX large luxury SUV currently miss out on a hybrid powertrain option, the latter of which shares its underpinnings with the Toyota LandCruiser.

According to the Japanese car-making giant, it will “no longer develop models without an electrified version” and will commence the rollout of 10 battery electric vehicles at the turn of the decade starting first in China before expanding to other markets.

To accommodate the proliferation of electrified vehicles, Toyota is working on new-generation sold-state batteries – as well as with Panasonic to study the feasibility of prismatic battery technology – to further improve driving range, weight and packaging.

The Japanese manufacturer has also teamed with compatriot brand Mazda and parts-maker Denso to form a new company called EV Common Architecture Spirit (EVCAS) that is expected to produce its first full-electric vehicle in about 2021 based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform.

Toyota will also address the disposal, reuse and recycling of old vehicle battery technology as it “aims to focus on the development of a social infrastructure conducive to the widespread adoption of electrified vehicles”.

Toyota’s intentions will also push the brand into working with governments and partner companies to push EV charging stations and hydrogen refuelling outlets, but it is currently unclear where and when they are expected to come on stream.

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