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Earlier in November, we reported on how Toyota’s CEO, Akio Toyoda described his auto manufacturer car as an established restaurant with a refined menu while describing Tesla as a company that was still working out its menu.
However, Toyota still seems at a loss when it comes to getting the recipe right for its EV batteries. It is one of the main reasons the Japanese car company is stumbling over its electric vehicle production.
Toyota has been at the forefront of auto manufacturing for decades and has typically had its foot forward in whatever technology was current at the time. Yet, the Asian car maker is far behind Tesla in EV manufacturing. The closest Toyota has come to producing electric cars was its Mirai, which was announced last year, and of course, the Prius Prime Hybrid.
Now, Toyota has revealed they intend to launch a new compact EV in Japan next year. The car is a two-seater with a sales target of just 100 vehicles for local government and business. The specs are also conversative with a 60 miles range on a single charge, but the vehicle will go for approximately $16,000.
It seems contradictory that just last week Apple Inc, an electronics company, claims to have come up with the ideal solution to EV battery technology but Toyota, a fully-established auto manufacturer is still struggling get its concept together to make EV production viable.
Toyota is playing it safe with its hybrid strategy and feels it makes significant contributions to the environment manufacturing several hybrids as opposed to using the same materials to produce just one full electric vehicle. It’s manufacturing process is what minimizes pollution and waste.
However, Toyota has been producing hybrid EVs for over 20 years already and has probably given them a lot of insight into the battery technology and perhaps they are collecting all this data to eventually produce a battery that surpasses Tesla. Maybe. But with Toyota having played in this field for long, we should think the car manufacturer is resting on its laurels. A lot could be going on behind the scenes and with the announcement of a two-seater company EV coming in 2021, it could be Toyota’s first step to testing the waters for going all-electric.
If Toyota is looking at a solid electrolyte battery that is cheaper to produce while being more energy-efficient that the current lithium-ion battery, then the Japanese car maker can gain some ground in the EV market. If there are huge profits to gain in the EV industry, Toyota will no doubt have its eye on the game, and it will have to participate sooner rather than later to keep its brand as a leading car maker. In addition to producing this company EV version in 2021, the car manufacturer has claimed they intend to bring six new EV models to market by 2025.
With Tesla, by 2025, they might have overhauled their fleet by then with its constant innovation in new designs, improving existing models, and focusing on manufacturing the best batteries for EVs. If Tesla can get the battery technology right and bring cost of production down before other companies figure it out, it keep the lead in the electric vehicle market and it will keep setting the benchmark for other auto manufacturing companies.
The next few years will get even more competitive amongst other car makers as governments move to legislate a ban on new sales for petrol-powered cars by 2030.
The race for the cheapest, most energy efficient EV battery is starting and it is anybody’s game to play. If Apple can start focusing efforts on this new emerging market, then surely, we’re going to see a big shift from established companies who live and breathe auto manufacturing.