Categories: LifestyleTechnology
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2023-12-06 8:19 AM

Toyota’s Electric Drive: Ambitious Concepts Clash with Critics in Race for EV Dominance

  • New EV Concepts: Toyota unveils Urban SUV and Sport Crossover, eyeing the European market for a competitive EV lineup.
  • Criticism and Lag: Despite ambitious EV promises, Toyota faces criticism for lobbying against battery-electric vehicles, trailing competitors.
  • Future Transformations: Toyota plans six EVs in Europe by 2026, aiming to turn Lexus into an EV-only brand by 2035.
By Lethabo Ntsoane

In a bid to bolster its presence in the electric vehicle (EV) market, Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, recently revealed two new EV concepts — the Urban SUV and Sport Crossover. The announcement offers a glimpse into Toyota’s future electric lineup, but critics remain skeptical, citing the company’s perceived reluctance to fully embrace an all-electric future.

The EV Concepts

1. Urban SUV

Toyota presented the Urban SUV as a “close-to-production” design, scheduled to debut in Europe next year. The compact model, based on the popular Yaris Cross, targets what is anticipated to become one of Europe’s major BEV market segments. However, there is no official word on whether these models will eventually be available in North America.

2. Sport Crossover

The Sport Crossover, described as a high-riding fastback sedan, aims to serve as an alternative to compact SUVs. Toyota has set a release date for the production version of this model in Europe in 2025. The company envisions this sleek offering as a compelling option in the evolving EV landscape.

Toyota’s European EV Strategy

Toyota’s European EV strategy encompasses a total of six electric vehicles set to hit the market by 2026. The bZ4X, already available for purchase in Europe, and a compact SUV concept unveiled last year are part of this ambitious plan. Two additional EVs are anticipated to be revealed in the coming months, rounding out the lineup.

ModelRelease Timeline
bZ4XAlready on sale
Compact SUVConcept revealed in 2022
Urban SUVExpected in 2023
Sport CrossoverProduction in 2025

Toyota’s EV Lag and Promises

Despite Toyota’s commitment to releasing 30 electric vehicles and selling 3.5 million battery EVs by 2030, the company has been criticized for trailing behind competitors in the EV market. The company’s stance on government policies, allegedly prioritizing hybrids over battery-electric vehicles, has raised eyebrows among environmentalists and industry observers.

Environmentalist Criticisms

Toyota’s reputation as a pioneer in electrification, having paved the way for companies like Tesla, has suffered due to its perceived opposition to policies promoting battery-electric vehicles. Critics argue that the company’s lobbying efforts against U.S. initiatives to reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions have hindered the broader adoption of EVs.

Future Plans and Transformations

Toyota’s vision includes transforming its luxury brand, Lexus, into an EV-only marque by 2035. While the company remains optimistic about its strategy, critics point out that Toyota needs to address concerns over its lobbying efforts and fully commit to the global shift towards electric mobility.


As Toyota unveils its latest EV concepts for the European market, questions linger about the company’s commitment to embracing a fully electric future. While the Urban SUV and Sport Crossover offer a promising look at Toyota’s upcoming electric lineup, critics argue that the company’s past lobbying efforts have slowed the transition to an all-electric automotive landscape. As the EV market continues to evolve, Toyota faces the challenge of aligning its strategy with the global push for sustainable and electric transportation.

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Lethabo Ntsoane

Lethabo Ntsoane holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa. He is a Financial Product commentator at Rateweb. He is an expect financial product analyst with years of experience in reviewing products and offering commentary. Lethabo majors in financial news, reviews and financial tips. He can be contacted: Email: Twitter: @NtsoaneLethabo