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Toyota and Lexus to launch three EVs by 2021

Autocar logo Autocar 15/10/2019 Rachel Burgess
a car parked in a parking lot: Toyota recently previewed its future electric line-up © Autocar Toyota recently previewed its future electric line-up

Toyota and its luxury arm Lexus will offer three electric models within the next two years, the maker has confirmed.

While no more details were given on the models, a futuristic, electric Lexus concept, to be revealed next week at the Tokyo motor show, will demonstrate the technology behind the upcoming EVs ahead of production.

The firm pioneered hybrids, first launching the powertrain in a Prius in 1997, but has been slow to adopt plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. It does, however, sell a PHEV variant of its Prius. 

Gallery: 40 electric cars you'll see on the road by 2025 (Business Insider)

Talking at the revised RX launch, its deputy chief engineer Naohisa Hatta said: “If you look at a hybrid, it’s [made up of] a battery, engine, motor and PCU. If you increase the battery part, then it becomes a PHEV. If you take ICE out, it becomes pure EV. 

“We already have the technology. We’re waiting for the right time. It has to make business sense. It has to make profit. If you look at the facts of what’s happening in the market now: for example, PHEV technology is reflected in the price [of cars]. If we are going to have an EV in the line-up it has to be affordable to normal users.”

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Debating the comparison between Toyota and Lexus’s hybrid system and PHEVs, a spokesman said: “Today, the most efficicent route is the hybrid drivetrain in real-world situtations.” It cited third-party data which shows PHEVs are often run on petrol alone, and gave an example of an RX achieving 43mpg versus a PHEV rival achieving 32mpg.

While Toyota and Lexus remain reserved on the introduction of EVs and PHEVs, confirmation that it will introduce three zero-emission models by 2021 reflects the need to meet increasingly stringent emissions targets globally.

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