In an effort to catch up with competitors like Tesla in the field of battery electric vehicles (EVs), Toyota is combining its famous lean production methods with new technology. The automaker recently showcased its advancements at a plant tour in Japan, highlighting innovations such as self-propelled assembly lines and massive die casting.
Toyota’s lean production methods, which have been used for decades, are known for their efficiency and ability to reduce costs. By incorporating these methods into its EV manufacturing process, Toyota believes it can make up for lost ground and close the gap with competitors.
One notable advancement is the use of self-propelled production lines, where EVs are guided by sensors through the assembly process. This technology eliminates the need for conveyor equipment and allows for greater flexibility in production lines. Toyota also showcased a prototype of the die-casting technology known as “gigacasting,” which produces larger aluminum parts than traditional methods.
Additionally, Toyota has implemented other innovations to improve productivity and efficiency. For example, it has introduced a self-driving transport robot at one of its plants to ferry new vehicles across a parking lot, reducing the physical burden on truck drivers.
Toyota’s focus on continuous improvement and cost reduction has fueled its success in the automotive industry. However, the company has recognized the need to ramp up its offerings in the EV market, as it currently only accounts for about 0.3% of global EV sales. With its combination of lean production methods and new technology, Toyota aims to strengthen its position in the EV market and compete more effectively with Tesla and other automakers.