Toyota - despite the fact that over the years this company proved itself as a leading developer of hybrid and fuel cell cars - hasn't shown much interest in producing long-range electric cars. However, things are changing - according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei, Toyota is set to start producing EVs by 2020.
Early in the beginning of 2017, Toyota plans to set up a special team, which is to be in charge of developing electric cars that can run more than 300km on a single charge. They also plan to co-operate with other companies belonging to the group. It is possible that the same platform as seen in Prius hybrid or Corolla sedan could be used as the technical basis of the new electric vehicle. Batteries may be obtained from business partners in order to keep the cost of developing EVs low. On the other hand, Toyota already developed its own Lithium-Ion battery technology, which is used with Toyota's hybrid Prius.
The expected date of the reveal of the possible electric car - which hasn't yet been either confirmed or denied - coincides with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Electric cars would give Toyota a chance to compete in markets with increasingly strict regulations pertaining to environmentally-friendly mobile solutions, as seen in the US, in China and elsewhere. With hybrid and fuel cell cars only, a breakthrough on these markets would be very difficult - especially due to insuffiecient hydrogen car fueling infrastructure. Moreover, electric models will enable Toyota to fullfill its commitment of introducing a fully emission-free program by 2050.