Eager to speed its electric vehicle development, Toyota is assigning a special internal task force responsible for EV know-how. A "virtual organization," as Toyota calls it, it will consist of only four people, each brought in from one of the core companies involved in Toyota's electric vehicle resources to brainstorm together.
In addition to representatives from Toyota Industries Corporation and Toyota Motor Corporation, there will be a person from transmission manufacturer Aisin Seiki, of which Toyota holds a 30-percent share, and Denso Corporation, of which Toyota owns by 25 percent. Denso produces hybrid powertrain components, as well as ignition parts and electronics.
The idea of the virtual in-house venture is that its small structure allows more "out of the box" style of thinking, free from any organizational restraints that can slow down a bigger company's thought and work processes. Easily compared to the principles of lean manufacturing, Toyota wants to introduce the right vehicle at the right time, and by having a lean management that could be achieved. As TMC's president Akio Toyoda puts it, "As a venture company that will specialize in its field and embrace speed in its approach to work, it is my hope that it will serve as a pulling force for innovation in the work practices of Toyota and the Toyota Group."
Fuel cell vehicles are still a top priority for Toyota, despite contradictory claims from other manufacturers: for instance, Jaguar Land Rover's technical design director Wolfgang Ziebart has recently gone to the lengths of describing hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles as "complete nonsense", due to their "well-to-wheel" relationship regarding efficiency. A battery electric vehicle, as Ziebart says to Autocar, has a 70 percent well-to-wheel efficiency as electricity is directly stored in its battery; in comparison, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle can only manage 30 percent efficiency due to having to create electricity from hydrogen, which in turn has to be produced, compressed and cooled.
However, in Toyota Motor Company's statement, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are considered "the ultimate eco-car", due to their range and fueling times, as they do not have to sit still at a charging point, as compared to a battery electric vehicle.