Toyota Is Finally Taking EVs Seriously: Why We're Excited

Toyota surprised the industry in mid-December when it announced not one, but 12 upcoming electric vehicles (EVs). The news (via Toyota) was a welcome revelation to many, including SlashGear, and marks a bit of a departure from the company's previous messaging.

Toyota helped launch the EV market with its Prius family of hybrid cars, which the company launched in 1997. The Prius quickly established itself as a market leader and continues to be one of the most popular hybrid vehicles on the market.

In addition to the original version of the Prius, Toyota also manufacturers a plug-in hybrid version, as well as a larger and smaller Prius v and Prius c.

Despite establishing itself as the hybrid automaker to beat, Toyota has been noticeably absent from the overall EV market. In fact, the company has drawn criticism for spreading anti-EV messaging (via Electrek), and has refused to commit to a timeframe for transitioning its vehicle lineup to electric models.

Why We're Excited About Toyota's Shift

In view of the company's past messaging, there are a couple of reasons to be excited by the apparent shift in focus.

First and foremost is Toyota's position as the world's largest automaker, with the company's vehicles popular around the world. Without Toyota fully engaged in the move to EVs, the auto market's efforts to do so would be severely undermined.

Toyota president Akio Toyoda highlighted the importance of Toyota's participation, especially as it relates to climate change, in his remarks at the event announcing the new vehicles.

"I believe that achieving carbon neutrality means realizing a world in which all people living on this planet continue to live happily," said Mr. Toyoda.

"We want to help realize such a world. This has been and will continue to be Toyota's wish and our mission as a global company. For that challenge, we need to reduce CO2 emissions as much as possible, as soon as possible."

The second reason we're excited about Toyota's efforts is because of the technological position the company is in. Given that Toyota almost single-handedly popularized hybrid cars and was years ahead of its competitors, it stands to reason the company will bring the same technological and engineering advantages to bear in the EV market.

Without a doubt, Toyota's increased commitment to EVs is good news for the company, its customers, the automotive industry, and the planet — all of which makes us at SlashGear excited about the news.