Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer, Toyota Motor Corporation is planning to present 10 new battery-powered models and target sales of 1.5 million Electric Vehicles a year by 2026, aiming for sharp growth in a market where it has long been lapped by rivals.
The largest automaker globally, measured by sales will also set up a new, specialized unit to focus on next-generation battery EVs, senior executives said at a briefing on Friday as they outlined plans under its new leadership team.
Toyota, including its Lexus luxury brand, currently has three battery models on the market and last year sold fewer than 25,000 of those worldwide.
Investors and environmental groups have criticized Toyota for being slow to embrace battery-powered cars, saying it has lost ground to Tesla Incorporation and others that have more nimbly captured fast-growing demand.
The Japanese automaker has countered that EVs are just one option for customers and that gasoline-electric hybrids such as its pioneering Prius are a more realistic choice for some markets and drivers.
“In the next few years we will expand our line-up in the important battery electric category,” Chief Executive Koji Sato told the briefing, his first in the top job, but added that hybrids would remain an important pillar.
EVs are now expected to make up more than half of total worldwide vehicle production by 2030.
Meeting that demand will be critical for Toyota, which also said it would increase production in the United States, where the growth in EVs is outpacing that of the overall market.