Darko Kapelina provided the following update to his March 26, 2013 post titled “Electric cars to accelerate from 1 to 25 in 5 years.

31 May 2013 | Japan
Why Toyota is clear leader in electric vehicles: What next?
Toyota is the largest electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer by value; its EV gross sales product (GSP) being over 40% of the total global EV market (hybrid and pure electric) of $65 billion in 2013, with over 4,400 manufacturers sharing the rest.
Most of those make e-bikes, of course. Toyota is many times the size of its nearest competition in EVs by value of sales. Yet EVs are not yet responsible for most of Toyota’s gross sales product overall – or anywhere near. Its EV success is partly because it is the global leader in heavy industrial pure electric and hybrid EVs. To be precise, it is the leader in material handling EVs such as forklifts, with around $6 billion in sales there alone, whereas heavy EVs for earthmoving, mining and agriculture are in their infancy.
It is the global leader in hybrid cars, a market many times larger than that for pure electric cars, and it is in the top ten in electric buses worldwide, another of the largest market sectors with one of the largest growth rates. The hybrid car figures are particularly impressive:
• Seventeen percent of all cars sold in Japan in 2012 were hybrids, with 75% of those made by Toyota and its luxury car division.
• Toyota Motor Corp has sold more than 5 million gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles to the end of March 2013, since they first went on sale in 1997, the automaker said earlier this month.
• Its Prius series accounted for about 70 percent of that, making it the most popular hybrid model in the automotive industry.
• Globally, Toyota sold 1.2 million hybrid vehicles in 2012, the first time it sold more than 1 million hybrids in a single year.
Unprecedented depth and breadth of research
Toyota’s research into batteries, motors and other key components of EVs is unprecedented and in many cases it feeds subsidiaries making these components. The company efficiently cross-fertilises new EV technology between divisions unlike many competitors that enter other EV sectors then compartmentalise the divisions involved.
Challenges
Toyota is not without its challenges. Material handling will not be one of the fastest growing sectors as recovery from the drop in recession becomes complete. Hybrid cars will eventually give way to pure electric cars, where Toyota is largely playing a waiting game, invested in Tesla and correctly perceiving that they are not quite ready for mainstream prime time. The largest demand for electric buses will be in the rigged Chinese market for the coming decade and, there, Toyota will not be permitted to overtake national champion Yutong. The imminently huge military EV sector has no significant participation by Toyota and it is weak in the burgeoning light industrial/commercial EV sector.