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Look out Tesla: Toyota’s Shocking Announcement Shows they are All-In on Electrified Vehicles

Toyota announces new U.S. market battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles for 2021. What this means for Toyota and for Tesla now.

Toyota is all-in on electrified vehicles.

If you doubted this statement in the past, this week’s announcement by Toyota should quickly alter your viewpoint.

Toyota announced it will debut three new electrified vehicles sometime in 2021. This includes one plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and two battery electric vehicles (BEV).

What will this mean, though, for Toyota – as well as its electrification competitor Tesla?

Toyota Hybrid Vehicles

2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime XSE Supersonic Red profile view

To me, this is where things will get interesting for Toyota consumers and fans (I will put myself in both categories, since I currently own four Toyotas).

Torque News reporter John Goreham offered up his opinion in a recent story that one of these new Toyota vehicles will be an all-electric RAV4. This makes total sense. It would not be the first-ever RAV4 electric vehicle, but it would mark a serious jump back into the United States battery electric vehicle market for Toyota.

I mean, Toyota RAV4 is the best-selling small SUV in the country right now. Talk about making a dramatic statement, though. A Toyota RAV4 gasoline-only, a RAV4 Hybrid, a RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid electric, and potentially an electric-only RAV4.

The only thing that stops me from completely thinking RAV4 is because 2021 RAV4 Prime is already available as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Would this crowd the RAV4 market even more?

We could also be looking at a Prius all-electric. The 2021 Prius Prime plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is already here. Perhaps. Perhaps not.

I could see at least one BEV being an SUV (yes, this is a lot of acronyms). I could see Toyota Highlander being one of these. I could also imagine Toyota Venza or Toyota Camry being announced as one of the battery electric vehicles.

Even though the 2022 Toyota Tundra redesign should be announced and launched any time now, is there any chance at all for Tundra to be the chosen one?

Rumors are everywhere about a Toyota Tundra hybrid for 2022 model year already. What if it came with a plug-in port as well? Interesting but I just do not know about this line of thinking. Doubtful for me.

So, at least one of these will be a new model. Maybe a Corolla crossover small SUV. Perhaps a form of Yaris.

Point is, none of us knows.

And Toyota is notorious for not revealing their cards before they are perfectly ready.

Kenny Rogers told us over and over, “you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.”

Toyota is a good gambler, I suppose.

Tesla status after Toyota announcement

2021 Tesla Model 3 Red profile and front end

Where does this surprising Toyota announcement leave Tesla?

John Goreham also recently wrote about Toyota United States new vehicle deliveries compared to Tesla over the past few years.

It seems Tesla new vehicle sales in the country since 2018 have shown relatively minimal increases. Toyota hybrid sales, however, have grown by 37%.

YOU MAY ENJOY: My video review explains how a Toyota Prius Prime works.

This comparison is both startling and perhaps a tell-tale sign of the near future in electric vehicle research, development, manufacturing and in sales.

Toyota took a shocking shot this week.

The question is, how will Tesla respond?

Time for your thoughts on Toyota and Tesla

Thanks for reading everyone.

The interesting take home here for me is how quickly this rapidly expanding market is changing. By the year, by the month and by the week it appears at times.

We have exciting things happening for both extremely popular brands – Toyota and Tesla. In vehicle planning and production. In battery development. And in sales.

I cannot wait to see how this all unfolds.

Do you own either a Tesla or Toyota hybrid? What has your experience been so far?

Would you prefer a completely electric vehicle, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or a basic hybrid vehicle?

See you next story when I discuss what needs a redesign more: Toyota Tacoma or Toyota 4Runner.

Follow Jeff Teague on social media:

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Marc Geller (not verified)    February 12, 2021 - 2:05PM

One can hope. As the owner of a 2001 Toyota RAV4 EV - 101 K miles, original battery - and a 2013 Tesla Model S, both purchased used, I'd be happy to see Toyota get in the EV game here, as they've been forced to do in China. But Tesla needn't shake in their boots, and I'm not holding my breath.

Ray (not verified)    March 21, 2022 - 2:42PM

In reply to by Marc Geller (not verified)

TESLAS ACHILLES HEEL. SERVICE IS HORRIBLE..... I know this first hand. Your treated like crap. The car isn't built well. Please hurry Toyota. My Tesla is for sale. Biggest mistake I've made choosing a Tesla. Even Tesla solar I had installed was a horrible experience. Treated like crap. Don't believe me? Buy something from Tesla. I like Elon Musk but despise his company employees. Rude nasty people. Ouch it's going to hurt.

Timothy Parker (not verified)    February 12, 2021 - 2:56PM

I think the next 5 years will see electrified vehicles become very common, perhaps the norm. The charging infrastructure will have to ramp up quickly. A nice change would be to see PHEVs with even larger batteries and perhaps smaller ICEs, with the ICE becoming more of a rescue propulsion unit.

Crimson_DEcade (not verified)    February 12, 2021 - 7:50PM

I'm a Tundra Guy and I am not holding my breath for a plugin Truck from Toyota. I am Leaving Toyota for the first time in 30 years and will be getting a Cybertruck when they are available. Toyota is the leader in EV cars but they are so far behind in the truck market that I am not willing to wait.

JoeReal (not verified)    February 12, 2021 - 10:52PM

Toyota was dragged unwillingly into this if you keep track of Toyoda’s statements about BEV’s. I am 100% sure that it is very limited production and Toyota will lose money on each one produced. Their RAV4 Prime is eating into the profits of their SUV’s and even larger losses for the RAV4 EV. The fact is the SSB’s are more expensive per unit capacity than Tesla’s Lithium Ion batteries. So their RAV4 Prime they really don’t want to ramp up even if they’ll use current lithium ion and their EV based on SSB’s would even be far fewer. They just did it because they don’t want to be left behind. I hope I am wrong that indeed, the last hurdle of bringing the costs of solid state batteries down and competitive with Tesla’s costs of production. Here’s hoping that Toyota would seriously scale this up even if initially it will eat into the profit margins of their current ICE offerings.

DeanMcManis (not verified)    February 13, 2021 - 2:52PM

Shocking is definitely NOT the word that I would use for this rather bland, non-informative announcement. They pretty much restated in great length why they were NOT fully committed to building BEVs. And why they supported hybrids, PHEVs, and FCEVs instead. They said nothing about actual BEV models being released, and the announcement is so vaguely worded that they might not even have production BEVs built this year. But the long term migration plan has always been to have the Prius models move to being BEVs, and to add more hybrid and PHEV models to Toyota's line-up. Which is good.

An onymous (not verified)    February 14, 2021 - 4:12AM

Must be honest, Toyoda is so far behind the curve on every aspect of vehicles it is legitimately laughable. They are so far behind even the Europeans let alone the yanks and the Chinese. The prospect of dull as 5hit white goods vehicles from Toyota being electrified to replace their ancient and dull engines is likely to make them even more character less, perhaps a small mercy. But.. y'know... cheap. Plastic fantastic interiors and volume sales, im sure they will fill the entry level somewhere and be uh... value.. as point a to point b white goods appliances. With far less tech than the competition, as usual. They are so late with their pathetic insistence on the dead end flawed support for 20th c fuel cell...... "see you at the party Richter.." eventually.