TOKYO — Even though Lexus unveiled a futuristic electric vehicle concept and promised a production EV in the coming weeks, Toyota Motor Corp.'s luxury brand still sees that technology having limited appeal for many years to come.
Speaking with a handful of American journalists last week on the sidelines of the Tokyo Motor Show, brand President Yoshihiro Sawa said Lexus is committed to meeting local market needs and regulatory demands with an array of powertrains, including plug-in autos that may or may not include an engine.
Early in the next decade, Lexus will develop a dedicated platform for EVs and a plug-in hybrid model. By 2025, the brand will offer electrified versions of every model.
"We try to provide the suitable plan for the suitable market," he said. But tastes, infrastructure and environmental policies vary by region, so while China and California insist on zero-emission vehicles such as battery-electric vehicles and fuel cell-powered cars, consumers in Midwest states with limited infrastructure may prefer hybrids or efficient gasoline-powered autos.
"Gradually, electrification should be done," he said, "but I think it takes several years."
His comments came before Democrat Chuck Schumer, the minority leader in the U.S. Senate, proposed spending $454 billion over 10 years to build charging stations and subsidize the sale of electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.
Sawa stressed the need to be vigilant and respond to market demand.