Toyota's Electric Cars to Focus on Price, Not Range

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【Summary】Instead of making electrified vehicles that have a large amount of range and are incredibly expensive, Toyota will focus on making EVs with an affordable price.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jan 10, 2022 7:25 AM PT
Toyota's Electric Cars to Focus on Price, Not Range

There are plenty of electric cars to choose from on the market these days and range anxiety has quickly become a thing of the past. More chargers, which are on the way, would certainly help with range anxiety. One of the newer issues that consumers are facing is cost. The majority of electric vehicles are priced much higher than comparable gas-powered vehicles, making them unobtainable for the majority of shoppers. While Toyota has been slow to come out with electric vehicles, it's looking to change how things are being done.

Pricing First, Range Second

Toyota is slowly coming out with more electric cars, especially with the bZ4X SUV that is being built in partnership with Subaru. And Toyota knows that those electric vehicles will come after a lot of EVs from its rivals. Instead of focusing on rushing electric cars to market and giving them Tesla-like price tags, Toyota has plans to make its EVs affordable.

As Green Car Reports claims, Toyota will be focusing on affordability with its EVs, while keeping batteries to a minimum in its cars. The Japanese automaker will also ensure its electric cars are durable and environmentally responsible. Toyota is doing this because it sees pricing as one of the major parts of making cars environmentally friendly. As Toyota puts it, automakers need to sell enough EVs if they want to make an impact on global warming. Only selling a few thousand expensive vehicles to wealthy consumers won't cut it.

"‘Nothing happens until you sell a car' is an expression we have internally," Cooper Ericksen, Toyota Motor North America VP for product planning and strategy, told the outlet. "To have a positive impact on the environment, you must sell a high volume of cars…so it's really important that the price point is such that we can make an actual business model out of it."

Selling a high volume of cars requires a low price tag, but at the expense of range. The automaker believes that this route will help it sell millions of electric cars by the end of the decade. Additionally, Toyota also thinks that bringing the costs of batteries down will help it sell more cars. To that end, the Japanese automaker announced that it will be spending $13.5 billion on battery development, which it hopes will bring the battery cost per vehicle down by 50 percent compared to the bZ4X.

Want Range? Buy A Lexus

One interesting way that Toyota characterizes range is to claim that it's similar to horsepower. High-horsepower cars tend to be expensive and aimed at consumers with a lot of money to spend on a new vehicle. Those on a budget tend to not worry about power, but look at the whole car.

"The bottom line is, over time we view EV range similar to horsepower," said Ericksen. "People who are affluent and can afford a really expensive vehicle can afford a lot of horsepower."

At the moment, consumers in the U.S. want an electric car with a range in excess of 300 miles. But once more electric chargers are installed across the country, consumers won't worry about range as much. Trying to find a good middle ground of price and range is going to be an issue for Toyota, but it won't be for Lexus, as the luxury brand will offer EVs with 400 to 500 miles of range.

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