Toyota Chief Engineer Hints of Shift Toward More Battery Electrification

Facing mandates to reduce carbon emissions, Toyota’s chief engineer for the Prius line said this week that more battery power will be required.

The hint therefore is at least more plug-in hybrids, and potentially battery electric vehicles are in the offing. No timeline was set, but to those who have seen Toyota as anti-EV, it is now indicating it will be following Honda toward softening that stance.

Like Toyota, Honda has emphasized hydrogen fuel cells, de-emphasized battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars to date, but Honda now has in the works pure battery electric and a 40-mile range PHEV with more promised.

For its part, Toyota has for the past several years also resisted greater electrification. It has instead leaned on its enormous market edge with hybrid-electric vehicles, but concedes it will need to do more.

“Currently, a lot of electricity is still generated from fossil fuels. But this is shifting, and more and more carbon neutral electricity will be generated,” said Kouji Toyoshima from the sidelines of an auto event in Japan. “That’s why we would like to use more electricity to power our cars.”

Also in the works is the company’s well-publicized move toward fuel cells, but more vehicles than its present Prius Prime plug-in hybrid are being considered.

New Plug-in Toyota Prius Prime Touts 22 Miles Electric Range

Speaking through a translator, he spoke to Forbes contributor Bertel Schmitt in terms of “PHV” for hybrids, and “EV” for presumably battery electric vehicles, but more clarity was not offered.

In the future, “us and our competitors will move to using much more carbon neutral energy,” said Toyoshima who went so far as to say even bicycles could become part of its product offerings.

The engineer added “we are using the EV-like plug-in-hybrid as a step to using more electricity in the future.”