Tesla Model Y was torn down by Toyota, where Toyota executive admitted that Model Y is a “work of art”. For years Toyota has been reluctant to shift to electric vehicles fully. The Japanese automaker has been investing in hybrids with the Prius.
It has even lobbied to slow down the deployment of electric vehicles and spread EV misinformation. Recently, we have been encouraged by some new comments, especially since the transition to a new CEO. As part of the renewed effort to invest in battery-electric vehicles, Toyota decided to do a teardown of the most popular electric vehicle in the world right now: the Tesla Model Y. Some Toyota executives who participated in the teardown talked to Automotive News, and one of them called Tesla’s electric SUV a work of art, “Taking the skin off the Model Y, it was truly a work of art. It’s unbelievable.”
The Japanese automaker appears to be particularly impressed with the simplicity of Tesla’s vehicle architecture and powertrain. Despite making cars for almost a century, Toyota has been having issues with its recent shift to electric vehicles. The bZ4x, Toyota’s first global all-electric car, had a major safety recall that has seriously delayed the program to a crawl for the next two years. Now it is trying to learn from Tesla as it plans to build a new EV platform to launch new electric vehicles starting in 2026.
Toyota has been one of the slowest movers in introducing and scaling the production of fully electric vehicles. After pioneering the hybrid market with the introduction of the Prius, Toyota has failed to gain any meaningful traction with its EVs. For example, in August, a Toyota executive claimed that “the consumer isn’t demanding [EVs] at that level,” referring to the US goal of reaching 50% electric vehicle sales share by 2030.
Despite this, most automakers are struggling to keep up with the demand for their electric vehicles. Nearly every other automaker plans to introduce several new EV models in the coming years on their way to an all-electric future. Instead, the company has insisted on sticking to its hybrid vehicle strategy, which has been successful thus far, helping propel them to the top of the auto industry. However, the industry is quickly evolving from under them. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 13% of new cars sold in 2022 will be electric after doubling in 2021 to 6.6 million. On the other hand, Toyota had to halt production of its first EV model, the bZ4X, due to concerning safety recalls.