Toyota didn't love electric cars? The company focuses on alternative fuel engines

Luc Williams

One of the world's largest car manufacturers, next door Mazda Motor and Subarusaid it is making progress in developing smaller, more efficient motors that can work with electric vehicle production platforms and will be able to meet stringent emissions regulations in the future.

After a period of eight solid years sales of hybrid cars Toyota and its partners say fuel-burning engines still have a role to play, even as the auto industry faces a global drive to decarbonize is switching to battery-powered electric vehicles.

Criticism of Japanese manufacturers for slow electrification

Japanese manufacturers have long been criticized for hesitating to fully embrace electrification as it has done Chinese BYD and American Teslawhich are leading in the field of battery-powered electric vehicles.

“In order to achieve carbon neutrality, the most important thing is to reduce emissions,” Toyota CEO Koji Sato said at a joint briefing with the CEOs of Mazda and Subaru. “We need an engine that can efficiently use different types of fuel“.

It is not known when the new engines will enter the market

Hiroki Nakajima, Toyota's chief technology officer, did not provide a time frame for when Toyota's new engines will appear in its vehicles. But he said the carmaker would make sure they were there available on the market before stricter emissions regulations come into force.

Toyota on Monday said it is conducting research with oil company Idemitsu Kosan Co., heavy machinery maker Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and oil refiner Eneos Holdings to introduce carbon-neutral fuels to Japan by 2030.

Toyota's multi-pronged strategy

Toyota has long argued that multiple options would be needed to transition to electrification. He calls this approach a “multi-pronged” strategywhich offers customers a wide selection of drive systems, including hybrids, hydrogen fuel cells and combustion engines, as well as battery electric vehicles.

Despite detailed plans to develop new engines, Toyota said it remains committed to electric vehicles. Earlier this month, the company said that will spend an additional 500 billion yen ($3.2 billion) on research and development aimed at decarbonization and next-generation software development. Last year, Sato promised that Toyota will sell 1.5 million battery electric vehicles annually by 2026 and 3.5 million by 2030.

Ultimately, automakers said decisions about developing alternative fuel engines would depend on whether the technology made business sense.


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