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Toyota targets 250,000/yr European BEV sales by 2026
OEM announces plans to sell six BEVs in Europe, including an imminent entry into the SUV/crossover B segment
Japanese legacy OEM Toyota has broadened its European BEVs targets by expanding its planned line-up to six BEVs by 2026, in addition to targeting 20pc of its sales by the same being all-electric vehicles — amounting to 250,000/yr.
Toyota previewed two BEVs that it describes as an urban SUV concept and a sport crossover concept respectively. These will supplement the bZ4X e-SUV that is already on sale and the bZ compact SUV concept the firm debuted last year.
The urban SUV is targeted at the B segment and is described as a close-to-production design could be available as early as next year. That is a currently crowded space.
The Peugeot e-2008, Opel Mokka Electric, MG ZS EV, Citroen e-C4, Fiat 600e, Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Mazda MX-30, Smart #1, Volvo EX30, Jeep Avenger and Honda e:Ny:1, DS 3 E-tense and Seres 3 among the models competing in the segment.
But Toyota predicts that B-SUVs will be one of the largest markets for BEVs in Europe. And it points out that its hybrid electric Yaris Cross is the best-selling model in its class and it “has drawn on this experience in the development” of the new BEV.
The SUV/crossover part of the B segment, while currently more crowded than cars, also has fewer new entrants announced. Stellantis Italian marque Alfa Romeo is targeting a 2024 launch in the space, while the Renault 4ever is due in 2025 and VW has plans for a compact e-SUV to launch in 2026. But there are at least seven new B-segment all-electric cars set for the European market by 2028.
Toyota customers will have a choice of two battery options for the upcoming urban SUV, with a cheaper shorter-range option, while both front and all-wheel drive powertrains will be available.
The sports crossover is due to follow a year later in 2025. Interestingly, it is joint development between Toyota and dominant Chinese EV maker BYD.
The firm has not provided details on the two other model that will complete the six-car range. But it does note that the B-segment compact SUV “will be the most compact and accessible”, so the other two vehicles will be larger and more expensive.
While making no promises, Toyota also showcased in Brussels, Belgium the FT-3e SUV-type concept that it first unveiled at the Japan Mobility Show earlier this year.
“By 2026, Toyota Motor Europe will offer around 15 different zero emission vehicles under the Toyota brand, from passenger cars to light commercial vehicles. At this time, Toyota’s European BEV mix is expected to be more than 20pc with more than 250,000 vehicle sales per annum,” says CEO of Toyota Motor Europe Yoshihiro Nakata.
“In Europe, Toyota’s electrified mix is already at 71pc and is expected to grow to 75pc in 2024. This will further expand with new battery electric vehicles playing an increasingly significant role in its sales volumes,” Nakata continues.
But, in the first nine months of 2023, Toyota sold 560,088 electrified vehicles in Europe, consisting almost entirely of HEV and PHEV models. Its only BEV, the bZ4X, sold only 14,318 units in the same period.
This puts Toyota’s current BEV mix in its total European sales at 1.78pc, highlighting the work standing ahead for the firm to meet its new targets by 2026.
Toyota also says it is developing “next-generation batteries” for the market at some point “post 2026”. The firm is “preparing to introduce a series of new batteries, the first of which will be a performance version, designed with a conventional structure but expected to offer twice the driving range and a 20pc cost reduction compared to the current bZ4X”.
The firm is next targeting what it calls a “good quality, low-cost battery that will help popularise BEVs”. It will use lithium iron phosphate (LFP), as well as having a new shape and a bipolar structure. Its aim is to increase range only by 20pc compared to the bZ4X, but to reduce costs by 40pc.
A third battery will then be introduced, focusing on high performance and using bipolar technologies and a high nickel cathode. “Even lower costs and a further extended driving range are expected,” Toyota says.
As for its oft-derided ambition on solid-state batteries, “we have made a technological breakthrough that overcomes the long-standing challenge of solid state battery durability”, says Andrea Carlucci, vice-president at Toyota Motor Europe.
“A method for mass production is currently being developed and we are striving for commercialisation in 2027-2028, with production capacity of several tens of thousands of vehicles,” he continues. The latter part of his statement is likely a reference to reports that Toyota, even it achieves a rollout of solid-state batteries by its 2027-28 timeline, will not be able to mass-produce at any scale for some timer after that.
“From the start, Toyota is looking to achieve a charge time from 10pc to 80pc of just 10 minutes,” the firm says of its battery ambitions.
Needless to say, all of this BEV and battery enthusiasm — which also includes a BEV version of its new Proace Max light commercial vehicle (LCV), as well as, on the HEV side, a new Hilux Hybrid 48V pickup — also goes alongside Toyota's continuing commitment to a "multi-pathway solution", i.e. hydrogen and FCEVs.
EV inFocus has opined at length about the Japanese OEM's enduring enthusiasm for hydrogen as an option for passenger cars or LCVs, rather than perhaps being a solution for heavy-duty vehicles. It will limit itself on this occasion to simply quoting Toyota's own literature following the firm's attendance at last month's European Hydrogen Week.
"Hydrogen has already made its entrance in mobility and power applications as it is an energy source for trucks, buses, coaches, trains and boats," Toyota says. It should probably take its own counsel on the fuel's suitability for cars and LCVs.