Toyota celebrates its past, but also foreshadows the near future.
Toyota rolled its 30 millionth US-built vehicle off its Indiana assembly line on Wednesday: a 2021 Sienna. The current generation is purely a hybrid minivan, moving away from its ancestors and shifting towards the electrification. This step in itself is a major step, even for a huge player like Toyota. What is more important, however, is what this step foreshadows. While the brand has pioneered hybrid technology, it is taking it a step further by finally introducing volume battery-electric models to the US market this year.
âToyota’s new electrified product offerings will provide customers with several choices of powertrain that best meet their needs,â said Bob Carter, vice president of sales for Toyota North America. To that end, the company has announced that it will introduce three electrified models by the end of this year. Two will be pure battery electric cars, while the other will be a plug-in hybrid. By 2025, Toyota aims to capture a larger share of the âalternative fuel vehiclesâ market. This includes electric vehicles, hydrogen fuel cell cars, and plug-in hybrids.
Right now, the automaker is developing a BEV-specific platform called e-TNGA. Like Toyota’s âNew Global Architectureâ (hence TNGA), the new platform will underpin several Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the near future. After company president Akio Toyoda courted the controversy by claiming that there was far too much hype surrounding electric vehicles, the manufacturer will be tossing its hat to the electric vehicle ring nonetheless. While we will have to wait and see the long-term effects of this announcement, it will be interesting to see more competition emerge in the electric car market.
Toyota’s only modern electric vehicle to date is the C + pod specific to Japanese. Check it out below: