Toyota Motor (TM 127.34, +3.00) is higher by 2.4% after revealing plans to market more than ten all-electric vehicle models globally in early 2020. The company made the announcement after expanding its battery production partnership with Panasonic. Toyota's forecast calls for more than 5.5 million EV sales by about 2030.
Toyota's President Akio Toyoda acknowledged that the company has been "a little bit late" to the electric vehicle party, but the decision to join the fray was made after the company changed its view regarding limits of battery technology. The company previously believed that electric vehicles would be limited to short delivery routes and personal mobility, but improvements in battery technology have changed the company's view regarding the expected utility of EVs. Through its expanded partnership with Panasonic, Toyota will work on the development of prismatic cells and solid-state batteries.
While Toyota's announcement has not garnered the kind of hype that can be associated with a Tesla (TSLA 342.28, -1.17) product preview event, the world's largest automaker has the resources, and now the desire, to become a significant player in the EV market. Furthermore, Toyota is well known for making durable vehicles at a low price point, and unlike Tesla, the company does not set unattainable targets, giving its engineers ample time for product testing before launch.
Highlighting its conservative nature, Toyota made it clear last month that it will not sacrifice safety in order to be one of the first companies to launch a fully autonomous vehicle, noting that level 5 autonomy is the goal, but is not something that can be achieved with today's technology.