Toyota is implementing new technology and leveraging its renowned lean production methods to compete with Tesla and other automakers in the battery electric vehicle (EV) market. The company showcased its latest advances during a plant tour in Japan, highlighting innovations such as self-propelled assembly lines, massive die casting, and hand polishing for high-gloss bumpers.
By combining its engineering and technology expertise with the Toyota Production System (TPS), the automaker believes it can respond to changing market dynamics and improve manufacturing efficiency. The TPS, which includes lean production, just-in-time delivery, and workflow organization, has been widely adopted across industries and recognized for its continuous improvement approach.
To increase productivity, Toyota has automated three-decade-old equipment using robotics and 3D modeling, allowing it to run operations around the clock. The company has also introduced self-driving transport robots at its Motomachi plant, effectively reducing the physical burden on truck drivers and improving efficiency in vehicle transportation.
Taking inspiration from Tesla, Toyota plans to produce modular sections for EVs, reducing the number of parts required. Additionally, the automaker has developed its own die-casting technology, known as “gigacasting,” which allows for the production of larger aluminum parts with shorter mold change times. These advancements in manufacturing processes are expected to increase productivity and enhance Toyota’s offering in the EV market.
While Toyota has been a leader in hybrid vehicles with its renowned Prius, it has lagged behind in battery EVs. With new CEO Koji Sato at the helm, the company has announced a strategic plan to ramp up its presence in the EV market. As of 2022, Toyota held only 0.3% of the global EV market share.
By leveraging its manufacturing expertise, implementing new technologies, and focusing on continuous improvement, Toyota aims to close the gap with Tesla and other competitors in the battery EV market.
Summary: Toyota is leveraging its famous lean production methods and introducing new technologies to compete in the battery electric vehicle market. The company showcased innovations such as self-propelled assembly lines and massive die casting during a plant tour in Japan. Toyota aims to enhance manufacturing efficiency and improve its offering in the EV market by combining its engineering and technology expertise with the Toyota Production System. The company plans to produce EVs in modular sections, reduce the number of parts required, and introduce its own die-casting technology. With a strategic plan to ramp up its presence in the EV market, Toyota aims to close the gap with Tesla and other competitors.