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Toyota's electric vehicle program is getting sped way up, report says

The company that put hybrid vehicles on the map is now playing catch-up in developing fully electric vehicles.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
After decades of going all-in on hybrid technology, Toyota now has to throw its considerable resources at developing electric vehicles.

Toyota is a company that got a very early start on the whole gasoline-electric hybrid boom, made tons of money and then kept on iterating and improving that idea.

As a result, its hybrid vehicles are some of the best in the world, but as the rest of the industry and the public's interest both move in the direction of full electrification, Toyota has to play catch-up.

That's why Toyota has decided to speed up its electrification timeline, according to a report Friday by Reuters. In fact, it plans to get half of its sales from EVs by 2025. That would be a tall order for any company, but Toyota has vast resources, talented engineers and an iron will so we believe it can happen.

Toyota's big hurdle on the road to electrification will come when it tries to find sources for battery cells in the kind of numbers it needs to meet its goals, but it's already looking to Chinese cell producers to help fill its needs.

"We consider ourselves as a maker of electric vehicle batteries, going back to when we developed the battery for the Prius," Reuters reports Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said during a briefing. "But there may be a gap between the amount of batteries we can produce, and the amount of batteries we may need."

Couple that with Toyota's battery technology research, both into improving lithium-ion chemistry to make it less rare-mineral-intensive and in working toward bringing solid-state battery tech to market, and things could get very exciting.

All this talk of electric vehicles shouldn't make you think that Toyota is abandoning its commitment to hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. Toyota execs have repeatedly stated that they believe fuel cell technology is the future of zero-emissions vehicles and will continue to develop it.

Let's just hope that future FCVs are a little more handsome-looking than the Mirai.

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