Toyota was once a leader of automotive electrification, with its excellent hybrids (a niche where it's still at the top of its game), but ever since the spotlight began to shift towards plug-in hybrids and then fully-electric vehicles, the manufacturer hasn’t shifted its own focus to keep up with the changing trend. Recently, the company officially debuted its hydrogen engine, in an endurance racing car with CEO Akio Toyoda at the wheel, clearly indicating that it is still looking to alternatives to EVs.
The recent public debut of the hydrogen burning engine was a strong indicator that the manufacturer just doesn’t want to build EVs, but according to statements made in a recent press conference held at Toyota’s headquarters in Plano, Texas, that may not be entirely true. Green Car Reports quotes Toyota Motor North America executive VP Bob Carter as saying
We are not anti-BEV, in fact we are committing to rolling out more BEVs. For the industry to reach an all electric future it’s going to take combined efforts between automakers, government, dealers, suppliers, and of course, most importantly, consumers.
This was backed up by what vice president for Toyota division marketing, Lisa Materazzo, said when she wanted to make it clear that the manufacturer is
All in on BEVs. The customer is the boss; they’ll be the ones deciding what technology best suits their needs. We are well positioned with our portfolio approach to go where the market takes us and we will follow the lead from our consumers.
The source also very validly points to statements made by Toyota back in 2019, when the manufacturer was trying to push the idea that there simply isn’t demand for EVs in the United States. That probably wasn’t entirely true two years ago, and it’s even less so today, as the demand for electric vehicles is rising around the world (the US included).
Right now, Toyota is working on launching its first proper electric vehicle for the global market, the bZ4X, a RAV4-sized electric crossover. It also stated publicly that it has plans to launch as many as 15 new battery electric vehicles globally by 2025, however they only represent a fraction all new models to be launched by then (70 models in total, including hybrids, ICE vehicles and Autogefühl Checks Out The New Toyota Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car).
Do keep in mind, though, that the e-TNGA architecture is just an adapted version of the TNGA modular platform launched in 2015 with the fourth-gen Prius - it is not specifically designed for EVs, like Hyundai’s E-GMP or VW’s MEB. e-TNGA was announced in October 2019 and so far it’s only used in the bZ4X (and its sister model from Subaru, the Solterra; Subaru calls it e-SGP, short for e-Subaru Global Platform).