Toyota’s new CEO, Koji Sato, is set to give his first briefing as chief executive of the Japanese car maker today, during which he may confirm an all-new dedicated platform for electric vehicles is in the works, as indicated by people familiar with the matter, according to a report from Reuters.
The plan to go for an electric-only architecture for future models was outlined in February, after Toyota’s former CEO, Akio Toyoda, hand-picked Koji Sato as his successor in the age of electrification. Back then, Toyota’s new chief executive said that one of his priorities is to streamline the structure of the car and “drastically change” the way they do business.
Now, as Reuters reports, the world’s biggest automaker is looking towards Tesla’s innovations in the field of EV manufacturing, taking inspiration from the American EV maker’s Giga Press casting machines and other production-related processes to lower costs and increase its profit margins.
For reference, Tesla made almost eight times more profit per vehicle than Toyota in the third quarter of last year, partly because of Tesla's ability to simplify production and reduce costs.
Until now, the Japanese company has used the e-TNGA platform for its battery-powered cars – the Toyota bZ4X and Lexus RZ – but because it’s a modular platform that shares components with internal combustion engine models, it’s not as cost-efficient as a dedicated EV architecture.
As a result, several projects that were supposed to be based on the e-TNGA platform have been delayed or even canceled, according to a person familiar with the matter, quoted by Reuters.
This, and the fact that Toyota is planning to build EVs in the United States from 2025, is very good news. However, even under its new CEO, the Japanese car company seems unwilling to drop gasoline-burning models from its lineup or even provide a timeline for their retirement, with Sato expected to lay out a strategy that emphasizes “diverse powertrains,” underlining that gasoline hybrids will remain an integral part of its business, even as it ramps up EVs.
It’s an approach that will, again, get on the nerves of environmentalists, but it’s hardly news. Toyota has repeatedly stated in the past that a “multi-pronged” strategy regarding powertrains is going to be better in the long term, even going so far as to tell EV-only extremists that they’re wrong. The Japanese carmaker reasons that putting smaller batteries in more cars has a bigger impact on reducing carbon dioxide emissions than putting a big battery in fewer cars.
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