Toyota unveiled plans on Monday for a lineup of 21 hybrid models by the end of 2015. Seven of the models are currently available or in production, including the Prius and RAV4 EV, leaving 14 all-new models.
“We plan to launch 21 new or full model change hybrids (by the end of 2015),” Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s vice chairman and R&D head, said at a press conference.
Toyota predicts total sales of its hybrid models to top one million this year and projects future sales to hit that milestone every year between 2013 and 2015. Hybrids are popular in Japan, where the automaker sold 310,000 vehicles, which equates to 26 percent of its total sales. However, sales of hybrids in other markets like the United States remain low, mostly due to the cost.
“Profits from conventional (gas) powered cars are still higher, so we need to reduce hybrid costs more in order to promote their diffusion,” Uchiyamada told reporters. The good news for Toyota is that interest in hybrid vehicles, like the Toyota RAV4 EV that goes on sale soon, remains high in the U.S. The automaker also plans to further increase that interest.
“(Toyota) plans to enhance the appeal of the Prius PHV plug-in hybrid vehicle by expanding available vehicle grades and by offering an accessory outlet designed to use the hybrid system as a power supply that can also be used in times of emergency,” the automaker said.
Toyota also announced plans to continue developing a hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle as well as offer the Toyota eQ, an electric variant of Toyota’s iQ minicar, in the U.S. on a limited basis starting in December. The eQ has a driving range of 62 miles and a top speed of 78 miles per hour.