Just a year and half after announcing its electric vehicle strategy, Toyota may be considering suspending the move, if new reports are anything to go by.
It is being reported by Reuters sources that the Japanese automaker has set up a internal group to model out plans to develop a new EV architecture or improve its current e-TNGA flexible EV platform which is already in use in the all-electric bZ4X crossover SUV, and now slated to underpin the upcoming 2023 Lexus RZ 450e.
Toyota according to reports, will be moving to also suspend work on certain other EV projects and this included a compact electric cruiser (inspired by the FJ Cruiser) and the Toyota Crown hybrid sedan.
Further reports also said the automaker has to deal with a too slow EV manufacturing process that is even expensive as compared to that of other manufacturers like EV maker, Tesla. According to Reuters, Toyota had in association with Tesla developed all-electric version of its popular RAV4 SUV in 2012 with reports averring that its engineers considered the technology to be no threat. Toyota in 2017 sold off its stake in the development to Tesla before starting the development of its own platform.
The bZ4X by Toyota was discovered by industry experts to be lacking in key features of popular Electric vehicles and this included the true one-pedal driving and faster charging speeds. Aside that, the bZ4X, together with the Subaru Solterra EV had it rollout suspended as a result of a major recall for loose hub bolts that had the propensity of making a wheel to detach while driving. The company later fixed the issue after it added washers to the hub bolts.
Famed for being an early leader in hybrid technology with the development of famous vehicles like the Prius, Toyota can be said to have fallen behind and instead had shifted its focus on the development of hydrogen fuel-cell cars like the Mirai, even as it lobbies to slow down EV adoption in the United States.
Hitting the reset button its EV’s transition will be considered as another minus of for the Japanese automotive manufacturer but Toyota might as well surprise us all with a comeback.
The New York Times in a 2009 article noted that the failure by Toyota to embrace EV’s is not a new concept, but how far will that continue?