Japanese automakers Subaru, Mazda and Toyota are all ramping up the development of electric vehicles despite their previous hesitations about such models.
As recently announced, Toyota, which has long pursued hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, is turning its attention towards electric models, already preparing to launch an in-house venture company to develop them. Mazda meanwhile plans to launch its first EV in 2019 while Subaru will do the same in 2021.
Speaking with Automotive News, the chief executive of Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said the industry is shifting to become more focused on EVs than ever before.
“The overall industry is now shifting its electrification focus toward EVs. We are in the age where we cannot just go on launching EVs only as regulation compliance cars,” he said.
Compared to rival firms, Toyota, Subaru and Mazda have been either resistant or slow to introduce electrified models. Up until recently, Subaru only offered one hybrid model, based around the XV Crossover, but dumped it for the 2017 model year. Similarly, Mazda only sells a hybrid Mazda3 in Japan.
As Toyota owns a stake in Fuji Heavy Industries and has an alliance with Mazda, Subaru and Mazda are expected to collaborate with the world’s largest automaker to accelerate the development of their respective EVs.