Toyota Sets Big Target for Hybrids -- WSJ

By Chieko Tsuneoka Features Dow Jones Newswires

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (December 14, 2017).

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TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp.'s president on Wednesday became the latest auto chief to offer ambitious targets for hybrid and electric vehicles, saying the category would make up half of Toyota's global sales by 2030.

Akio Toyoda unexpectedly disclosed the target at a news conference where he announced cooperation on battery technology with Panasonic Corp. Mr. Toyoda said underlings might scold him afterward for releasing a specific figure, but he said he wanted to stress the industry's rapid shifts.

"The auto industry is now facing a major change of the kind that comes once in a 100 years," he said.

Toyota's hybrid vehicles, combining an electric motor and a gasoline engine, already made up about 14% of sales in 2016. Those vehicles are included in Mr. Toyoda's target for 2030 as well as plug-in hybrids that can draw electricity from a power outlet, fuel-cell vehicles and fully electric vehicles.

In 2030, Mr. Toyoda said, Toyota projects selling about 5.5 million vehicles in those categories together, or half of total projected sales. Of those, 4.5 million would be hybrids and plug-in hybrids, while the remaining one million would be fully electric vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles, he said.

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Other car makers have released targets for the next decade calling for a rapid ramp-up of EV production.

Volkswagen AG said in November it planned to invest around $40 billion over the next five years to develop electric vehicles, self-driving cars and Uber-like mobility-app services. Honda Motor Co. said in February 2016 that hybrid, fully electric and fuel-cell vehicles would account for two-thirds of its global sales by 2030.

Toyota pioneered hybrid vehicles in the late 1990s but has been slower to move into fully electric vehicles. It has said it will introduce a mass-market full-electric vehicle in China within a few years.

Mr. Toyoda said regulatory changes and the speed of battery development would determine how quickly EVs spread.

Write to Chieko Tsuneoka at chieko.Tsuneoka@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 14, 2017 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)