Japanese car maker Toyota is beefing up its electric vehicle line-up and will be offering 30 fully electric models by 2030, president Akio Toyoda says.
Toyota plans to sell 3.5 million electric vehicles globally in 2030, up from its earlier plan to sell two million zero-emission hydrogen and battery electric vehicles a year worldwide by 2030.
The company sells about 10 million vehicles globally a year.
Mr Toyoda promised a full line-up of electric models called the “bz series”, short for “beyond zero”, in the years ahead, including sport-utility vehicles of all sizes, pick-up trucks and sports cars.
“We can leave a beautiful planet and bring about many smiles for the future generation,” Mr Toyoda said at a Tokyo showroom, standing on stage with more than a dozen EV models promised for the future.
His comments underscored the company’s determination to reverse its reputation as a laggard in the industry’s shift toward electric vehicles.
Toyota prides itself on its role as a pioneer in hybrid technology and more recently in hydrogen fuel cells for vehicles.
The maker of the Prius hybrid, Lexus luxury models and Mirai fuel cell car wanted to offer various options, Mr Toyoda said.
He stressed Toyota must respond to global fears about climate change and carbon emissions.
The company’s Lexus luxury brand will become fully electric by 2035 globally, Mr Toyoda said.
It aims to achieve that by 2030 for the US, European and Chinese markets.
The company also raised to 2 trillion yen ($24.7 billion) its investment in battery research and development from the 1.5 trillion yen announced earlier this year.
When including other green technologies, like hybrids, Toyota is investing 8 trillion yen by 2030, the company said.
Earlier this month, Toyota announced plans to build a huge electric vehicle battery plant near Greensboro, North Carolina, that will employ at least 1750 people and start production in 2025.
Toyota’s fully electric sport utility vehicle called “bZ4X” is set to go on sale next year globally.
Toyota is building a futuristic city near Mount Fuji, designed to try out and showcase automated driving, sustainable energy and robotics for housing.
David Leggett, automotive editor at GlobalData, said Toyota was trying to prepare for the dramatic technological and societal changes that are coming.
“Businesses have to think about how demand will look in 10, 20, 30 years’ time, and the pathways that come back to their business plans over a foreseeable time horizon,” Leggett said.
Mr Toyoda, an avid racing driver and the grandson of the company’s founder, acknowledged he had not been that interested in EVs in the past, viewing them as “commodities”.
But he said he is excited about the vehicles Toyota is developing.
“They are safer, faster and more fun to drive. I can say that as a driver,” he said.