December 1, 2016

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Toyota is really serious about its EV business: with Akio Toyoda as the new president of its EV division, the Japanese automaker seems determined to boost its EV initiative.

Why Toyota is late to the game

While we have companies like Nissan, BMW, and of course, Tesla that already have relatively mature electric cars on the market, Toyota’s EV development is significantly behind. That’s because until recently, Toyota wasn’t convinced that electric cars weren’t the solution given their limited driving range and charging time.

Instead, the Japanese car giant, much like Honda and Hyundai, focused on hydrogen fuel cell cars. In essence, this technology uses chemical reactions to convert conventional fuel into electricity. That means you don’t have to worry about charging stations all the while being emission-free. However, it turns out, that technology is extremely complicated and not ready for prime time just yet. That’s why Toyota is jumping into the all-electric battery-powered vehicles a year or two after other companies.

Akio Toyoda appointed as the head of EV division

Akio Toyoda, as you may have guessed by his last name, is related to the founder of Toyota, Kiichiro Toyoda. He is the grandson of the company’s founder, and will be heading the Japanese automaker’s EV division along with two Executive Vice Presidents: Mitsuhisa Kato and Shigeki Terashi.

According to a company spokesman, the new structuring is the company’s effort to expedite its EV development. Toyota is said to be reorienting its petrol-hybrid efforts to EV in order to accommodate the growing demand for all-electric vehicles. After all, we recently reported that Toyota is finding ways to manipulate lithium ions’ behavior to create more efficient and longer lasting batteries for EVs. Because electric cars depend on their range and battery capacity, Toyota’s breakthrough – if it becomes commercial – may be a game-changer.

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