After years of resisting all-electric vehicles, Toyota announced on Wednesday plans to debut its first mass-market all-electric vehicles in the United States later this year.
In a statement, Toyota said that the three new models will include two battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) and one plug-in hybrid (PHEV). The company — which, as of 2020, was the world’s top selling automaker — also touted the environmentally-friendly impact of the new vehicles, citing its belief that the “fastest way to lower greenhouse gases in the transportation sector is to offer drivers lower carbon choices that meet their needs.”
“We continue to be leaders in electrification that began with our pioneering introduction of the Prius nearly 25 years ago,” Bob Carter, Toyota North America’s executive vice president of sales, said in the statement. “Toyota’s new electrified product offerings will give customers multiple choices of powertrain that best suits their needs.”
While Toyota has long been one of the global pioneers of hybrid vehicles, most notably for the Prius, which it debuted in Japan in 1997, it has long resisted going all-electric.
In Wednesday’s statement, the company defended its past decision to shy away from all-electric, claiming that its internal research had initially found the total greenhouse gas emissions of all-electric and hybrid vehicles to be “roughly the same … when factoring in pollutants created by electricity production for the average US energy grid used to charge batteries.”
But the company’s decision to embrace all-electric at long last — along with General Motors’ recent announcement that it plans to roll out 30 new global electric vehicles by 2025 — is a good sign of where the wind is blowing these days.