In what would be a major strategy shift, Toyota is considering a dedicated EV platform similar to what other automakers have to compete more effectively with Tesla, The Asahi Shimbun reported this week.
However, Toyota doesn't plan to deploy this platform until 2027 or 2028, when it believes consumer demand for EVs will be sufficient to warrant the investment, the report said. That means it will be a full vehicle cycle before anything shows up on this new platform, and until then Toyota might not be as competitive versus models that have such a manufacturing cost, range, or efficiency advantage built in.
2023 Toyota bZ4X Limited AWD
The report arrived essentially the same day as CEO Akio Toyoda announced a step over to chairman after 14 years in the CEO role, with Koji Sato anointed as the next Toyota CEO.
Under Toyoda, the automaker has taken a somewhat conservative approach to EVs, with the man himself saying a U.S. target of 50% EV sales by 2030 would be "very difficult" to achieve. The automaker only recently launched the Toyota bZ4X and Lexus RZ twins, and even those models use a platform that shares some engineering with internal-combustion vehicles.
2023 Lexus RZ
In contrast, the new platform will reportedly be a truly clean-sheet design, similar to the likes of Hyundai's E-GMP platform or BMW's upcoming Neue Klasse platform. Toyota reportedly paused development on future EVs in October, so it might have been for this reason, to get them to be built on this platform instead.
For now, Toyota in the U.S. has noted that while Lexus will prioritize performance and range, Toyota will seek affordability in its EVs. At last update, Toyota suggested that 85% of its U.S. sales will still have tailpipes in 2030. California is already past that today. In that state, EVs represented 16% of new car sales in 2022.