For Toyota, hydrogen still the route forward
Japan Times -- Oct 12
As others automakers plan battery-powered SUVs and trucks, Toyota Motor Corp.’s vision for the future of driving remains a hydrogen-sipping sedan.

The Japanese behemoth will begin sales late next year of its second-generation Mirai, a fuel cell-powered four-door, and will ramp up annual production by tenfold from the current model.

Toyota’s bet — that it can position a hydrogen sedan for more of a mass market — flies in the face of rivals wagering on putting batteries into the bigger-bodied vehicles consumers are buying.

The firm has been slower than peers to embrace EVs, citing uncertain demand in key markets including the U.S. along with technical hurdles that limit battery range and recharging times. While the company has pledged to offer an electrified version of every model in the next five years, and 10 fully electric vehicles by early the next decade, it’s also going to keep coaxing consumers to give hydrogen a try.

“Toyota won’t be putting all our eggs in one technology basket,” said Doug Murtha, Toyota’s U.S. group vice president for corporate strategy and planning, at a briefing in Greensboro, North Carolina.

The company’s near-term electrification goals in the U.S. center on its gas-electric hybrid powertrains. It currently sells six hybrid vehicles, and said Thursday it will add a plug-in hybrid version of its RAV4 crossover next year.

The firm plans to increase sales of hybrid cars and SUVs in the U.S. to 25 percent of deliveries by 2025, up from about 9 percent today.

News source: Japan Times
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