Is Toyota about to shift from hydrogen to battery EVs?

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Toyota Mirai

Something’s gotta give

When a relatively new type of technology begins to become more mainstream, it’s not uncommon to see various different formats battling it out to become the ‘default’ for the industry and consumers to work with. We all know about the battles between VHS and Betamax, HD DVD vs Blu Ray, and every single time, there’s always relatively quickly an emerging winner which goes on to become the go-to option.

It’s arguably been the same with ‘future fuel’ vehicles in the last few years. Up until just a few months ago, it seemed fairly even between battery and hydrogen-powered EVs. Toyota in particular was keen to push the hydrogen option with cars like the slightly questionable-looking¬†Mirai, holding back on full battery EVs despite the raft of successful hybrids it’s created over the last decade or so in the form of the Prius and almost all Lexus models.

A winner emerges?

Well, included in a report this week by Nikkei Asian Review is a statement said to be from Toyota itself, hinting it’s possibly begun to realise what the world was starting to think: that like Donald Trump, battery-powered EVs were starting to take the edge, by hinting that it was working on a range of full EVs powered by these units to be released by 2020, potentially¬†ruling its hydrogen endeavours extinct.

It’s interesting that Toyota is yet to do a full EV considering its huge hybrid back-catalogue. But cars like the 2017 Prius Prime PHEV are a sign that this is certainly about to change. In the report, the firm also claims that every single one of its EVs will come with over 300kms (186 miles) of capable range.

Lexus LC 500h hybrid
Some of Toyota/Lexus’ recent hybrid models have certainly proven successful…

Toyota’s statement

Here’s the full statement:

“We would like to refrain from commenting on such details, such as the schedule of development and production since it relates to our future product plan.

Toyota has made efforts in every direction on various powertrains, including electric vehicles (EVs), when it comes to the development of environmentally friendly vehicles. Toyota will continue to improve on the development of eco-cars, ranging from hybrids (HVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHVs), to electric and fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs), based on the advantages and capabilities of each powertrain.

We believe that environmentally friendly vehicles can only help to improve the environment if they become available to a large number of customers, and in relation to this, Toyota will consider introducing EVs to the market.

We will consider the roll-out of EVs alongside Toyota’s FCV lineup, which are both zero emission vehicles, based on the advantages and capabilities of each, as well as the market conditions of each region/country, as we continue to closely monitor the corresponding situations.”