ZEV Factory tasked with electric and fuel-cell car development

Toyota has created a new division, responsible for electric and fuel-cell vehicle development.

Over the weekend the company told The Mainichi it had created a new unit, dubbed the ZEV Factory, to help speed the development of electric vehicles. The new division is built around a 50-strong planning team, originally established in late 2016 with Akio Toyoda, company CEO, at the helm.

Now led by Shigeki Terashi, head of advanced research and development at Toyota, the ZEV Factory reportedly has around 200 engineers. The new unit will oversee the development, parts procurement and production planning for all the company’s electric and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

Above: Toyota Prius Prime plug-in hybrid.

Although Toyota went all-in with hybrid technology before climate change became a mainstream issue, it has been considerably more gun shy about fully-electric cars.

So far, it has limited itself to a few compliance vehicles like the RAV4 EV, last sold in the US in 2014. Interestingly, Toyota once had a shareholding in Tesla, and the RAV4 EV used a Tesla-supplied drivetrain built in an old Toyota/GM factory.