The Japanese automaker is getting serious about its push to launch a pure EV by 2020.

Toyota is forging ahead with its plans to launch a long-range electric vehicle by 2020, installing company president Akio Toyoda as head of the newly-formed electric car division.

According to Automotive News Europe, Toyoda will lead EV planning, along with Toyota’s executive vice presidents Mitsuhisa Kato and Shigeki Terashi.

Spokeswoman Kayo Doi said: “By putting the president and vice presidents in charge of the department, we plan to speed up development of electric cars. The president will directly oversee the department’s operations to enable decisions to be made quickly and nimbly.”

Toyota has long led the way in petrol/electric hybrids, launching the Prius in 1997. In recent times it has also been heavily investing in fuel cell vehicles, which resulted in the Mirai that Toyota’s as “the ultimate eco car”.

But as many countries around the world, including the United States and China, push manufacturers to produce greater numbers of pure-electric vehicles, Toyota has relented. A research and development team is expected to be in place by the start of next year, with the ambitious target of turning around an EV with a range of at least 186 miles (300 kilometers) within three years.

Prius chief engineer Koji Toyoshima is also being moved to the EV division, to head the engineering team. He will also join the four-person task force that is being set up to accelerate the development process by engaging in “unconventional work processes”. The rest of the task force will consist of one person from each of the other companies in the Toyota group - Denso Corp., Aisin Seiki Co., and Toyota Industries Corp.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Toyota is also in discussions with Mazda about collaborating on EV development. According to reports, Toyota would provide its advanced battery technology to Mazda in exchange for Mazda's highly efficient Skyactiv combustion engines.

Source: Automotive News Europe


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