Toyota Ramps Up Electrification Timeline, Outlines Nuanced Strategy
Terashi said Toyota’s new interest in battery sales was partially due to there being better visibility of the market, improved energy storage, and lowered technological costs. While it still doesn’t seem to believe BEVs will replace internal-combustion vehicles any time soon, it now feels that there is a sufficient market case to be made for OEMs to get more serious about them.
Despite its continued cautiousness and an additional warning about the perceived profitability risks of zero-emission automobiles, Toyota is still making sizable moves in the electric realm. In March, Toyota Tsusho announced it had purchased a stake in Fukuta Electric & Machinery Co. The company has since been discussing evolving into one of the world’s largest suppliers of electric vehicle components and systems. It’s also at the forefront of Automotive Grade Linux, which is collaborative effort between automakers that hopes to establish a new industry standard for the operating systems of connected cars. While often downplayed, these are probably some of the most important aspects of Toyota’s overall plan but you have to pull back a bit to fully appreciate it.
Toyota is taking a realistic and varied approach to electrification without pulling too many punches. If BEVs take off, it’ll be in a good position as both a supplier and brand. If they don’t, it could still make a mint selling its proprietary tech to companies more willing to take risks in an uncertain market. Regardless, Toyota is making important commitments while simultaneously hedging its bets and telling the world that it still isn’t convinced that electric vehicles are viable business model. However, if they are, Toyota should be sitting pretty — possibly with a seat at the head of the table.