Toyota will ramp up EVs through Lexus but will explore other technologies, says in-coming CEO

Koji Sato courtesy of REUTERS-Kim Kyung-Hoon

The incoming CEO of Toyota, Koji Sato, has revealed his plans for the company as the change-of-guard draws closer. Sato said Toyota would boost its purely electric vehicle offerings by focusing on its Lexus brand. However, he added the carmaker would stick to its strategy of exploring other technologies.

When news broke out of the impending step-down of current Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, there were hopes the new leadership would finally focus on electric vehicles, following the company’s lackluster efforts in the EV space. It appears this will become a reality as the replacement CEO Koji Sato has revealed the company’s luxury brand, Lexus, will receive more EV attention from its parent company, as Reuters reports.

Sato made the comments as Toyota tried to push back against criticism that it was too slow to adopt battery-powered mobility. The company decided to stick with hybrids after the success of the Prius, adamantly maintaining that hybrids were a more efficient way to utilize battery resources. It also pursued hydrogen-powered propulsion, which has yet to break into the market.

Sato’s comments show Toyota is not letting go of its hydrogen ambition yet, as he added that Toyota would continue to experiment with different propulsion methods as it pursues its carbon-neutrality goals.

“This is not a fast pivot towards battery EVs. To the point that we have been slow at battery EV projects, I think around half of it is a communication issue,” he said.

Sato reaffirmed Toyota’s goal of selling 3.5 million EVs by 2030. The CEO-in-waiting joined Toyota in 1992 and became chief engineer of Lexus International in 2016.

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