Toyota to add 10 purely electric vehicle models ot its lineup by early 2020s

Toyota has planned more than 10 purely electric vehicle models in its lineup by the early 2020s, showing the Japanese automaker's commitment to the growing technology sector.

Toyota Motor Corp currently does not have any purely electric vehicles on offer, although it leads in hybrid models, which switch between an electric motor and a gas engine.

Executive vice president Shigeki Terashi said today that Toyota's EVs will be first offered in China, a nation that is encouraging electric vehicles with subsidies and other policies, and is expected to drive massive growth in the technology.

According to Terashi, Toyota's EVs will also later be offered in Japan, India, the US and Europe.

According to the company by about 2025, every model it sells will have some kind of ''electrified'' version, such as hybrid, electric or fuel-cell.

Toyota last week announced it would set up a joint auto battery business with Japanese electronics maker Panasonic Corp. Terashi added the deal with Panasonic is ''a crucial piece'' in Toyota's strategy, and that it wanted to promote a Japanese partnership. (See: Toyota mulling battery production for EVs with Panasonic)

According to commentators, advances in battery technology are vital for the success of EVs. They add, a major shift toward their use would require more use and recycling of the rare and expensive materials used in batteries, such as lithium.

"The auto industry faces many hurdles to developing next-generation batteries which are difficult for automakers or battery makers to tackle on their own," Toyota president Akio Toyoda said at a joint news conference.

"It would be difficult for us to meet our 2030 goals given the current pace of battery development. That's why we're looking to Panasonic and other companies to help us develop ever-better cars and batteries."