Toyota is earnestly starting to believe in the future of plug-in electric vehicles, and is now starting to play catch-up, as rumors of an “in-house” team to develop all-electric cars in a hurry are confirmed.

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

This month, Toyota will establish an in-house venture company - in fact a virtual organization (independent of other internal structural organizations) consisting of four persons from:

  • Toyota Industries Corporation
  • Aisin Seiki Co
  • Denso Corporation
  • TMC
Hopefully joining technological know-how and resources will result in compelling EVs from Toyota in the next few years, as vehicles like the i-Road (above) not necessarily propositions we were waiting for, more like science fair projects

"In the development of EVs, the venture company will draw on the technological knowhow and resources of the Toyota Group. Its small organizational structure is meant to enable it to implement unconventional work processes, leading to accelerated project progress and, thus, fast-to-market products.

Based on its thinking to provide the right vehicle at the right place at the right time, TMC has long taken a multi-angled approach to introducing environment-friendly vehicles and has developed hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), EVs and others. It has put special focus on FCVs, which, in terms of cruising range, hydrogen fueling times and other aspects, offer convenience on par with that of current gasoline-powered vehicles, making them, in TMC's view, ideal as a form of "ultimate eco-car".

However, differing energy and infrastructure issues around the world and the rapid strengthening of regulations aimed at increasing the use of zero-emission vehicles have heightened the need for product lineups that can respond to various situations. As such, along with its promotion of FCVs, TMC has decided to create a structure that will allow it to commercialize EVs at an early stage, as an alternative means of achieving zero emissions."

in the future?

in the future?

TMC President Akio Toyoda, commenting on the establishment of the virtual venture company, said:

"Over these past few years, which we have positioned as years for strengthening our planting of seeds for the future, we have taken such measures as establishing the Toyota Research Institute, made Daihatsu a fully owned subsidiary and have begun work to established an internal company responsible for compact vehicles for emerging markets. The new organizational structure for EVs is a part of this effort. As a venture company that will specialize in its field and embrace speed in its approach to work, it is my hope that it will serve as a pulling force for innovation in the work practices of Toyota and the Toyota Group."