At a press briefing earlier today, Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda showed off a bunch of ideas for upcoming electric vehicles. Many of them look absolutely incredible, but the stand-out was this little blue rectangle. It’s called the Compact Cruiser EV.
Toyota’s press conference was a long one, and I’ve only read most of the transcript and skimmed the ~90 minute presentation that’s been uploaded to YouTube. My takeaway is that Akio Toyoda wants the world to know that his company is taking the push towards electric cars seriously, though it will continue to hedge by also developing fuel-cell and plug-in hybrid automobiles.
I like the way Toyoda discusses electric cars. He doesn’t refer to EVs as some sort of panacea — as the only, or even necessarily best, solution to reduce carbon emissions. He simply says battery electric cars “represent one of the most promising options” to achieving carbon neutrality. From Toyoda:
We are living in a diversified world and in an era in which it is hard to predict the future. Therefore, it is difficult to make everyone happy with a one-size-fits-all option.
That is why Toyota wants to prepare as many options as possible for our customers around the world.
Toyota says it will invest $US70 (A$98) billion in electrified vehicles (hybrids, plug-in hybrids, fuel-cell vehicles, fully electric vehicles), with half of that investment allocated for 2022 to 2030 EVs.
At the press briefing, Akio Toyoda showed off what some of those EVs may look like:
“We will not only add battery EV options to existing vehicle models but will also offer a full lineup of reasonably priced mass-production models, such as the bZ series, to meet the needs of all kinds of customers,” Toyoda said at the event. (Here’s the company’s first bZ vehicle set to hit the showroom next year, in case you’re curious).
“Specifically, we plan to roll out 30 battery EV models by 2030, globally offering a full lineup of battery EVs in the passenger and commercial segments,” he continued. “Please take a look. This is Toyota’s greater battery EV lineup! …Welcome to our showroom of the future!”
So the cars you see above are meant to be an indication of some of the electric vehicles the world can expect to see from the Japanese automaker by 2030. We don’t have much info on most of the machines (which platform they’re based on, which motors and batteries they use, when they’ll be available, etc.); we really only have some images.
But that’s enough to get me excited, because some of these designs look fantastic. For example, the little blue off-roader called the Compact Cruiser EV.
It’s absolutely great. It looks like a shrunken, edgier version of the now-beloved Toyota FJ Cruiser. It also gives off Suzuki Jimny vibes. It has chunky wheel arches, somewhat aggressive tires, red tow hooks jutting cleanly from the front grille bars, a hood scoop that I’m just going to assume is some kind of light (since I don’t think a hood scoop would be necessary for anything), and a nice boxy profile.
The short overhangs and high ground clearance will likely make this thing an off-road monster, especially if Toyota can really dial in the traction control system and the motor/pedal calibration (particularly for low-speed crawling). Torque and silent operation make EVs awesome vehicles for serene, controlled off-road driving. So the idea of a Toyota EV off-roader that looks that good — well, it’s just awesome and will likely fill my dreams tonight.