Toyota to Speed up its EV Development, Will Turn to China for Batteries
Toyota Motor Corp is speeding up its timeline of having half of its global vehicle sales electric. The automaker originally set a target of year of 2030 for electric vehicles to make up 50% of its global sales. Now the company wants to make it happen by 2025—five years ahead of schedule.
To support the ambitious new timeline, Toyota said will turn to Chinese suppliers to supply the batteries needed for the new crop of electric models.
Toyota, which already makes batteries for hybrids and hybrid plug-ins, said it will partner with Chinese battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) and EV maker BYD Co Ltd for a stable supply of EV batteries.
Toyota aims to have sold 4.5 million or more hybrids and plug-in hybrid vehicles and 1 million battery-electric and fuel-cell cars by 2025. As one of the world's biggest automakers, Toyota has been criticized for not offering a single fully-electric model. Toyota claims that it is limited by its current battery production capacity.
At the Geneva Motor Show in March, Gerald Killmann, Toyota's vice president of research and development for Europe said that Toyota is able to produce enough batteries for 28,000 electric or 1.5 million hybrid cars vehicles each year.
As reported by Reuters, Toyota is now suddenly faced with a higher-than-expected demand for cars that use batteries instead of gasoline, Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi told a briefing on Friday.
"We consider ourselves as a maker of electric vehicle batteries, going back to when we developed the battery for the Prius," he said, referring to the popular Toyota Prius hybrid that first went on sale over twenty years ago.
"But there may be a gap between the amount of batteries we can produce, and the amount of batteries we may need."
He added that more stringent emissions regulations require more lithium-ion batteries in the next five years than the automaker plans to produce.
Toyota is planning to develop a new line of fully-electric models.
Toyota has for decades been developing its own lithium-ion EV battery technology and has partnered with Panasonic to develop and make rectangular-shaped prismatic (also known as pouch cell) batteries.
In January, Toyota announced a joint partnership with Panasonic to develop prismatic lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries and other advanced battery packs for its future electric vehicles. Panasonic also has a seperate deal with Tesla to jointly manufacture EV batteries.
CATL Set to Become a Leading Battery Supplier to the Auto Industry
CATL is emerging as a leading supplier of EV batteries to the auto industry. The Chinese firm is already working with automakers Honda Motor, Nissan and entered into a multi-billion dollar battery supply deal with Volvo Car Group.
In Europe, CATL plans to ramp up output in Germany where a lack of local producers has also left automakers like BMW, Mercedes Benz and Volkswagen dependent on Asian suppliers for batteries.
CATL is building a 240 million euro ($270 million) lithium-ion battery factory near Erfurt, Germany, which is set to begin production in 2021 with an initial capacity of 14 gigawatt hours per year.
Although Toyota has been lagging behind at least ten other major automakers that have already released fully-electric models, the company is still viewed as a pioneer in hybrid vehicle technology.
The automaker launched the Prius, the world's first high-volume "green car" over two decades ago and has led in the development of hybrid technology and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) powered by hydrogen. Toyota models account for more than 80% of the global hybrid vehicle market, due in part by the popularity of the Prius.
The further support Toyota's mission of a zero-emissions society, the automaker announced this week a new ultra-compact two-passenger electric vehicle designed for short trips, with a maximum speed of 60 km (37 miles) per hour and 100 km range on a single charge.
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