Battery cost makes affordable Toyota EV unlikely, exec says

An entry-level Toyota EV is unlikely in the near future due to high battery costs, an executive said in a recently published interview with Autocar.

Some automakers are launching small, affordable EVs for the European market, but Toyota currently has no plans to follow them, Andrea Carlucci, the automaker’s European development boss, said. That’s because there is still a “premium attached to electric cars” that won’t go away until a “substantial shift in the cost of batteries” occurs, Carlucci said.

Toyota Urban SUV Concept

Carlucci clarified that an affordable EV costing around 25,000 euros (about $27,000 at current exchange rates) would be a worthy addition to Toyota’s lineup, but just something that’s not feasible in the current market. And it definitely won’t be among the five new electric SUVs Toyota plans to launch by 2026, Autocar noted.

Among the planned models, however, is a small electric SUV for Europe, based on the Urban SUV Concept shown in late 2023. That model will start around 32,000 euros ($35,000), Carlucci revealed. Toyota has launched a C-HR plug-in hybrid in Europe, too.

Toyota Urban SUV Concept

Carlucci’s statements regarding the state of EV affordability in Europe is similar to what Honda’s global CEO said just last week. Honda has no electric equivalent to its signature Civic, and the automaker believes that might not happen without a technology breakthrough—like solid-state batteries—that could change the financial equation.

Toyota’s approach in the U.S. might be different. It told Green Car Reports in 2021 that it aimed to make affordability, not range, the focus of its EV plans. At this time, Toyota has many affordable high-mpg vehicles with all-wheel drive, which has been a niche resulting in strong sales. But it’s only U.S.-market EV so far is the bZ4X, which starts at $44,420 for the 2024 model year.

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