April 23, 2024

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Toyota might delay some EV programs, report says

Toyota might delay some EV programs, report says

Toyota is expected to outline adjustments to its electric-vehicle strategy to key suppliers early next year, as it races to narrow the gap on price and performance with industry leaders Tesla and BYD, two people with knowledge of the work said.

The automaker is expected to detail the EV plan changes through early 2026, communicating the adjustments to major suppliers, the people said on condition of anonymity as the information is confidential.

Toyota has been looking at ways to improve the competitiveness of EVs being planned for this decade, in part by speeding up the adoption of performance-boosting technologies for planned EVs, from electric drive systems – including motors – to the electronics that convert power from the grid to energy stored in batteries and more integrated heating and cooling systems, the people said.

The changes, however, might include delays to some of the EV development programs originally planned for the three-year period, one of the people said.

The changes would be for the successors to Toyota’s first two EVs for major markets, the bZ4X and the Lexus RZ, and intended to close the gap with Tesla on cost and performance, the people said.

Toyota is set to convene a major gathering of suppliers in February, the first such global supplier convention since the pandemic.

Toyota said in a statement that it is “always actively discussing and working with key (suppliers and partners) on a variety of topics,” to achieve carbon neutrality. But it said it had no new details to disclose on EV development projects.

Elon Musk’s Tesla made almost eight times the profit per vehicle as Toyota for the third quarter, partly because of its ability to simplify EV production and reduce cost, analysts have said.

Toyota has been reviewing a $30-billion, three-stage plan for developing and releasing EVs it announced late last year, Reuters reported in October.

It has suspended work on some battery-powered car projects announced last year, while a working group headed by former chief competitive officer Shigeki Terashi looks to improve cost performance and technology in the fast-growing market for EVs.

The working group has been charged with outlining plans to improve Toyota’s EV approach, including considering a potential successor to its new EV platform, e-TNGA.

The revamp comes even as Toyota holds the view that gasoline-electric hybrids, a market it pioneered with the Prius, will remain a crucial part of the transition to carbon-neutral transport.

Most major automakers expect EVs to account for the majority of vehicle sales by 2030, and green investors and environmental groups have pushed Toyota to move faster as industry-wide EV sales exceed Toyota’s earlier assumptions.