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Toyota EV In-House Development Program Confirmed, Production Model Incoming

Toyota has been focusing on hybrid cars for almost two decades now. More specifically, since the first-generation Prius went on sale in 1997. Then the Japanese manufacturer started experimenting with hydrogen fuel cell tech, thus giving us the Mirai. The near future, however, will see Toyota ramp up its eco-friendly vocation, aiming to create a pluggable pure electric vehicle.
Toyota iQ EV 6 photos
Photo: Toyota
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“But wait, doesn’t Toyota already have the iQ EV and that three-wheeler thingy called i-Road?” Right you are, but the two EVs are limited by range and by availability. As soon as 2020, however, Toyota intends to give the world a proper electric vehicle, one that people would actually buy. It’s not known if Toyota intends to go up against the Hyundai Ioniq Electric or the Tesla Model X, but one thing is certain: a Toyota-branded electric vehicle in on the way.

According to the Japanese company’s president and chief executive officer, the pluggable EV development program will kick off in December 2016. At first, the in-house EV program will be managed by four people. Aisin Seiki, a company specialized in transmissions and owned by the Toyota Group, as well as Denso, which is specialized in automotive electronics and it’s also owned by the Toyota Group, will help Toyota’s EV development venture.

Toyota suggests that the push for pluggable electric vehicles comes as a result of two things. First and foremost, the manufacturer shifted its focus from hybrids and FCVs to electric vehicles because the latter are a helluva lot more viable as mainstream cars. Secondly, R&D time and costs are lower than in the case of a fuel cell-powered vehicle. Another factor that’s worthy of mention is the world’s burgeoning charging station infrastructure.

Mazda also confirmed that it’s working on an electric vehicle of its own, slated to roll into dealer lots as soon as 2019. Mazda and Toyota, for all intents and purposes, are bound by a technical technological partnership since 2015. Hence, the two Japanese outfits could join forces in order to develop EVs.

On an ending note, the head of research & development at Toyota Europe suggested that the next-generation Aygo city car could go all-electric.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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