Toyota’s new CEO said the automaker would release “next generation” electric cars by 2026 under the Lexus brand. This is just part of a new strategy under development to solve problems associated with a slow and expensive electric vehicle manufacturing process.
Toyota will also expand its current EV range, which currently consists of the bZ4X crossover SUV (which required a recall to ensure the wheels don’t fall off) and the Subaru Solterra EV built on top of Toyota’s e-TNGA flexible EV range. platform . Lexus has yet to release its RZ 450e SUV, which is based on the same platform.
Koji Sato, who is currently Lexus president, will succeed Akio Toyoda as Toyota president and CEO on April 1. Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Sato said next-generation battery electric vehicles are the number one priority and the “time is right” to develop EVs under the new team once they take over in April, which is when we should hear more concrete details.
This comes after years of criticism of Toyota’s slow approach to electric vehicle adoption, resting on its laurels with efficient gas and hybrid cars, and being distracted by the development of hydrogen-powered vehicles. Meanwhile, competitors are already expanding purpose-built EV platforms across their product lines, such as GM with Ultium.
Sato said Toyota would take an “omnidirectional approach,” suggesting it will keep its hybrid business — with vehicles like the now-refresh Prius — continually relevant. “We want to keep up with customers around the world and offer different options,” said Sato.