Toyota’s transition towards battery electric vehicles might benefit its numerous subsidiaries and partners, according to a new report. The brand has Lexus, Ranz, and Daihatsu under its umbrella alongside partnerships with Mazda, Subaru, Suzuki, and truck manufacturers Isuzu and Hino.
Combined, their global sales amount to a whopping 16.3 million units, reported Automotive News. Toyota collaborated with Subaru on its first electric car, the bZ4X, which is rebadged and sold as the Subaru Solterra.
The Japanese car giant is reportedly undertaking numerous measures on the production side to catch up to other OEMS in the electric vehicle race. The comprehensive overhaul aims to cut in half the number of production processes, halve the plant investment and shorten production lead time, the company said in a recent briefing.
On the product side, Toyota is developing a new software operating system, a dedicated EV architecture, and next-generation lithium-ion batteries for a driving range of around 900 miles. The brand will also incorporate new techniques like giga casting, and self-propelled production wherein engineers can drive cars remotely through assembly plants.
Gallery: Toyota bZ Sport Crossover and bZ FlexSpace Concepts
Toyota might extend the new technologies to its partners in a bid to catch up with competitors like Tesla, which continues to be a leader in the BEV industry.
“Those technologies should not be applied only to battery electric vehicles,” BEV Factory President Takero Kato said.
BEV Factory is the Aichi-based brand’s new all-in-one division for EVs. “It’s about increasing our quality and flexibility. We will be able to streamline all our manufacturing and production activities through this activity,” Kato added, implying that Toyota's ICE vehicles might also benefit from the overhaul.
Higher automation and improved manufacturing will not only help Toyota cut costs but also help the brand cope with the labor shortage in Japan, as per Sadahito Kondo, director of Toyota’s production engineering development center. Workers whose roles are replaced by automated machinery will be reassigned to higher-value jobs, he said.
The world’s biggest carmaker is yet to flex its EV prowess but under newly appointed CEO Koji Sato, the automaker announced a new roadmap: The brand plans to launch 10 new BEV models by 2026 and aims to hit a production target of 1.5 million BEVs by the same year. Tesla is expected to produce and deliver around 1.8 million vehicles in 2023.
Recently, Toyota also announced a raft of new operational measures for the US. An all-new three-row electric SUV will be manufactured at the brand’s Georgetown, Kentucky facility. On top of that, the brand’s North Carolina battery plant, which is currently under construction, will benefit from an additional $2.1 billion investment.
The new models will be the production versions of the Toyota bZ Sport Crossover concept, bZ FlexSpace concept, and a Lexus fastback sedan among many others.