Toyota's new CEO, Koji Sato, has pledged to "drastically" accelerate the rollout of new electric vehicles as part of his goal to reinvent the world's largest automaker as a mobility company. While unveiling a new leadership team on February 13, Sato said the EV offensive would center around a next-generation platform, which is expected to arrive around 2026.
The announcement comes as Toyota Motor Corporation is being criticized by investors, environmental activists, and EV enthusiasts for falling behind in the global EV race.
Sato said he is prioritizing a three-pronged strategy after he takes over from Akio Toyoda as CEO on April 1.
The priorities will be to ramp up the carmaker's EV strategy, strengthen its Woven-related software-first initiatives, and focus on achieving carbon neutrality in Asia.
That said, Sato pledged Toyota would stick with the diverse powertrain strategy pioneered by his predecessor, in which the automaker continues to develop hybrid, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen-powered cars in addition to pursuing EVs.
For Sato, a top priority is to rethink Toyota's battery electric product plans. The executive said more details will likely be offered in April after he takes office. Lexus, the company he's currently heading as president, will have a leading role in steering the EV push.
The luxury brand already has a goal of going fully electric globally by 2035 and selling 1 million EVs worldwide in 2030. Toyota, as a whole, is targeting global sales of 3.5 million EVs in that time frame. It won't be easy getting there seeing as Toyota sold only 24,466 pure electric vehicles worldwide last year.