The Japanese automaker seems to have taken very seriously the strategy of hitting the market with at least a long-range electric vehicle by 2020, as the new EV division is being headed by none other than the company’s president.
Akio Toyoda will be directing the newly formed electric car division, and according to the latest rumors he will be joined by Toyota’s executive vice presidents Mitsuhisa Kato and Shigeki Terashi. “By putting the president and vice presidents in charge of the department, we plan to speed up development of electric cars. The president will directly oversee the department’s operations to enable decisions to be made quickly and nimbly,” commented a spokesperson for the company.
Toyota has long been at the forefront of eco-friendly vehicles, taking the lead in terms of sales of hybrids, following the introduction of the Prius back in 1997. But in recent years it seemed the interest was solely directed towards fuel cell vehicles, with the Mirai being regarded as “the ultimate eco car”. On the other hand, most of the regulators around the world – especially the United States and China – are pushing to help battery-operated vehicles. So Toyota has decided to join the party instead of sitting out, with a research and development team ready to start work next year and the newly formed division tasked to produce a battery-operated EV with a range of more than 186 miles (300 kilometers) in just three years.