Toyota’s EV strategy has focused on rolling out vehicles such as the bZ4X, the first model in a series of all-electric vehicles under the series name “Beyond Zero.”
The second phase of Toyota’s plans will cover the next few years when Toyota has models based on the e-TNGA platform it is developing, the company told some suppliers. Adjustments to this phase are changes that will likely be outlined to suppliers early next year.
Terashi’s group is currently considering whether to abandon the three-year-old e-TNGA architecture, which was created by changing the gasoline vehicle platform, and adopt a dedicated EV platform. A person familiar with the matter said.
The E-TNGA was designed to allow EVs to be built on Toyota’s assembly lines for gasoline and hybrid vehicles, on the factory floor of what Toyota engineers now see as key to Tesla’s strength. It’s a compromise that limits automakers’ ability to deliver innovation.
Toyota also designed the e-TNGA on the premise that it will need to sell about 3.5 million EVs annually by 2030, about a third of its current global sales, the sources said. However, the outlook for the industry is for a faster pace of growth.
Toyota has been working with two suppliers, Denso and Aisin, for its EV reboot.
Aisin and Denso have jointly developed a new thermal management system, as well as Aisin’s more advanced electric powertrain (eAxle).
Toyota is also looking at whether Denso’s just-developed silicone-carbide-based inverter could be introduced into some of its larger premium EVs, which could help improve charging and reduce manufacturing costs.
Denso and Aisin did not respond to requests for comment.
Terashi’s role in leading Toyota’s EV strategy review is seen as a sign that the automaker is nearing a complete reorientation of EVs after leaving the company.
Terashi, 67, did not respond to a request for comment.
During his 42-year career, Terashi has been one of Toyota’s top vehicle planners and a strong advocate for zero-emission vehicles, including hydrogen.
He was part of the team that paved the way for Toyota’s cooperation with China’s BYD, the world’s largest EV manufacturer.
The result was a soon-to-be-sold China-exclusive Toyota electric sedan called the bZ3 with a BYD battery.