What will these new models be?
Despite being one of the early leaders in hybrid technology with the Prius, Toyota has been hesitant to sell a fully electric vehicle in the United States except for the California-only RAV4 EV. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) make up only a small fraction of the US car market, so we can see why Toyota has opposed them for so long. That is why the Japanese automaker's latest announcement comes as such a surprise. Toyota officially confirmed that it will expand its US lineup with two new BEVs and one new plug-in hybrid (PHEV).
"We continue to be leaders in electrification that began with our pioneering introduction of the Prius nearly 25 years ago," said Bob Carter, TMNA executive vice president of sales. "Toyota's new electrified product offerings will give customers multiple choices of powertrain that best suits their needs."
Toyota is already a major player in the electrified vehicle space, owning a 40% share of the total alternative fuel vehicle market, a 75% share of the fuel cell market, and a 64% share of hybrids and plug-ins in the US. By 2025, Toyota expects 40% of new vehicle sales to be electrified models; by 2030, this number may balloon to nearly 70%.
The company did not confirm what these three new models will be but did confirm plans for a dedicated BEV platform called e-TNGA. This architecture will underpin a slew of global models, including Lexus products and a SUV co-developed with Subaru.
Along with news of this announcement, Toyota showed photos of the 2021 Mirai fuel cell vehicle and the 2021 RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid. These two cars' inclusion might be a coincidence but it could also be a hint towards what the three upcoming electrified models will be. An all-electric RAV4 makes obvious sense as a Volkswagen ID.4 rival, while the second EV and PHEV could be new versions of the Mirai using the Prius name (albeit without hydrogen power). We'd love to see Toyota finally offer a sexy Prius in a Mirai body with plug-in and fully-electric powertrains.