Toyota Adds News In-House EV Team For “Fast-to-Market Products”

NOV 30 2016 BY MARK KANE 18

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.”

Parhaps an electrified Toyota Aygo in the future?

Parhaps an electrified Toyota Aygo 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.”

Categories: Toyota


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18 Comments on "Toyota Adds News In-House EV Team For “Fast-to-Market Products”"

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I switched from Toyota to Chevrolet because of their lack of interest in EVs. I haven’t regretted it, our current cars are better than my Scion ever was.

However, I don’t hold grudges. 🙂 I hope that they do start taking the market seriously. The Prime is what the Prius Plug-In should have been. It should sell pretty well.

The Prime is still behind the 2011 Volt though and the i-Road has a very limited use case.

I always liked the idea of the iRoad as an EV bike. The top speed needed to be at least 80 km/h and charging time was never clear.

However if their EV cars get to market with the same speed as the iRoad, they won’t be a competitor.

Toyota should jumbo size the iRoad to make it a four seater. A 3-wheeled, leaning-body, Mini-sized EV should be a hoot to drive and very efficient.

And you think Tesla does dumb things. LOL!

Meh. I don’t ride motorcycles anymore due to way too many really close calls in and around densely populated NYC. But I miss the feeling of leaning into a turn while riding on a twisty road. I still get a taste of leaning into a turn while riding my mountain bike, snowboarding, skiing, or playing ice hockey.

Then, they’d never fit the hydrogen tank.

For such an innovative company like Toyota, I don’t see how they could have missed the potential of EVs so badly. I also don’t understand how they could have missed the huge problems related to FCVs.

Better late than never, I guess.

Groupthink in the executive suites.

Actually, I think Nix probably put his finger on it in the last discussion on this point. If we are willing to assume that Toyota’s press releases about electric cars and “fool cell” cars represent an extreme form of utilitarianism (that is, the end always justifies the means; methods including truth or falsehoods are irrelevant), and that they don’t represent what Toyota’s executives actually believe, even to a small degree; and if we look at Toyota’s actions, rather than their words: Then it makes sense for them to continue selling the (non-plug-in) Prius as long as it’s profitable, and not make any attempt to sell BEVs or long-range PHEVs which might cut into the Prius market. This would also explain why when Toyota finally did produce a Prius Plug-in, the EV range was no more than people were already getting with aftermarket plug-in conversion kits. Nix concluded his post with this: [quote] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now in October 2016, the Prius saw a 44% drop in sales compared to Oct. 2015. Sales have been down the last 2 years, now down to where they were 5 years ago. Their response seems to finally be that their cash cow is dying, so they… Read more »

The Mirai must be cannibalizing Prius sales.

Has Toyota bumped up the number of employees beyond four? 🙂

Toyota will catch up but it won’t be making exciting BEVs, just reliable ones.

Not four employees, but four EV engineers: One to sign the contract with a battery supplier*, and three to reverse engineer the drivetrain for the Bolt and/or the Model ≡.

*As you yourself stated the last time this was discussed, Alan! 🙂

Toyota was going to have a hybrid in every model line, that did not happen. It has been 15 years since the debut of Prius, NOW they talk about EVs.

Toyota! 4 Persons vs. Tesla? WOW

It’s unfortunate this article didn’t include the new announcement. New announcement from Toyota is that those four are Mr. Toyoda himself and 3 other top managers. It’s like Elon Musk taking charge of ICE development at Tesla. It’s pretty significant.


“Fast-to-Market Products” . . . looks like someone finally realized that they completely screwed up and backed the wrong horse.

Funny that they announce this in the sale news cycle as Lexus declaring that they won’t do EVs or plug-ins. A little corporate confusion?

Toyota has the best fugly design experts in the world.