Automotive giant's European division commits to launching an EV next decade, but argues there's a long way to go for EV price parity and profitability.
The boss of Toyota Europe has confirmed plans to introduce the brand's first all-electric vehicle in the region by 2021, which will likely be an SUV or van.
UPDATE, 18/3/19: Toyota Australia has issued a statement regarding the introduction of EVs locally. See bottom of article for details.
Speaking with industry journal Automotive News Europe, CEO for Toyota Europe, Johan van Zyl, indicated the upcoming electric version of the C-HR crossover bound for China in 2020 could be a strong possibility.
"It’s something that can be looked at," he told the publication. "We would like to have something in place by 2021."
However, Toyota's European boss added the new EV could come in the form of an SUV or van, given both are growing segments.
"The price point [for an EV] will be high, therefore, you will see them in SUVs," he said.
"They will also be much appreciated in a van-type vehicle in cities if they expand their zero-emissions zones".
Previously, the company has said it wants to introduce 10 EVs within the early half of next decade, though Matt Harrison, Toyota Europe's head of sales and marketing, noted the brand's concerns regarding high prices and low profitability in the current market landscape.
"In the next two to three years, if look at the CO2 compliance targets, it’s quite clear the level of electric vehicles from our competitors will be ahead of the demand level," he said.
"What our customers want and what they are prepared to pay for determines the speed at which we need to roll out that type of solution."
"That’s why we think hybrids are a better solution in the short term for the majority of customers," Harrison added.
Speaking with CarAdvice, Brodie Bott, manager for public affairs at Toyota Australia, said: "At this stage, we do not have anything to announce regarding the introduction of EVs into Australia".
"However, we are always studying what model and powertrain options are right for our market. Globally, Toyota has a wide range of vehicles with different powertrain options including petrol, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Each one of these powertrain options play a different but important role in mobility."