The Japanese automaker has formed a new 'venture' company that will lead its new EV strategy.
Toyota has announced it will set up an “in-house venture company” to lead its accelerated push to launch an electric car.
The Japanese automaker led the industry with hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, but has been a firm sceptic about pure electric vehicles. Last week it was reported a major change of strategy will see a Toyota EV launched by 2020.
The task force will be staffed by one person from each of the four Toyota companies: Toyota Industries Corp., Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd., Denso Corp., and Toyota Motor Corp. The company will operate independently of other management structures within the Toyota Group, enabling it work quickly and nimbly.
The venture company’s “small organizational structure is meant to enable it to implement unconventional work processes, leading to accelerated project progress and, thus, fast-to-market products,” Toyota said in a statement.
Japanese newspaper Nikkei reported last week that Toyota has formed a new research and development team tasked with creating an EV capable of driving 300 kilometers (186 miles) on a single charge. The first car is anticipated to be ready by 2020, initially going on sale Japan before being rolled out to other EV-centric markets like California and China.
Toyota remains committed to fuel cell vehicles like the Mirai, which it describes as “the ultimate eco-car”. However, it concedes that market demands mean a pure EV is now necessary.
“Differing energy and infrastructure issues around the world and the rapid strengthening of regulations aimed at increasing the use of zero-emissions vehicles have heightened the need for product lineups that can respond to various situations,” Toyota said.
Toyota Motor president Akio Toyoda said of the new outfit: “As a venture company that will specialize in its field and embrace speed in its approach to work, it is my hope that it will serve as a pulling force for innovation in the work practices of Toyota and the Toyota Group.”
Toyota closed its underperforming association with Tesla in 2014. The project led to the production of 2,000 electric RAV4s.