Sure, the company recently announced a "virtual organization
" dedicated to electric vehicles and a bigger push into EVs
, but we've heard plenty of plug-in platitudes from Toyota over the years as it followed its hydrogen mission. The announcement of who will lead Toyota's new EV division, though, just might show that the Japanese automaker is finally serious about plugging in. That's because the new leader is Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the man who started Toyota, Kiichiro Toyoda. Executive vice presidents Mitsuhisa Kato and Shigeki Terashi are also involved in the new EV department. Akio has been the president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation since 2009, so there's no question that whatever direction the company now moves on EVs, leadership is on board.
On the engineering side, the man behind the plug-in Prius Prime, Koji Toyoshima
, is going to head up the new electric vehicle department. This, plus the recent announcement that Toyota next big move in the hydrogen space will be in semi trucks
, shows a lot of shifts in the grand strategy.
A Toyota spokesperson told Automotive News
that, "By putting the president and vice presidents in charge of the department, we plan to speed up development of electric cars. The president will directly oversee the department's operations to enable decisions to be made quickly and nimbly." Toyota will have to move quick if it wants to catch up to its rivals on the electric highway.