Toyota Partners With BYD to Develop a More Affordable Electric Sedan for the China Market
Japan's Toyota Motor Corp recently stole the EV spotlight by showcasing its first-ever all-electric bZ4X SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month. The bZ4X marks Toyota's push into the EV space, and the automaker is looking to launch more affordable electric models, including in the China-market.
A recent report from Reuters says that Toyota is partnering with Chinese automaker BYD to build EVs specifically for the local market. However, the partnership between the two companies appears to be a strategic move to develop electric vehicles and keep up with rivals in the industry.
Toyota has refrain from going all in on EVs, with the exception of the Prius. Hydrogen fuel cell research and hybrid vehicle technology were Toyota's primary focus up until now. As a result of this, the automaker has a lot of catching up to do.
Through the partnership with BYD, Toyota is looking to release an all-electric sedan in China by the end of 2022. The new sedan will likely join Toyota's bZ (beyond zero) lineup. The partnership will help Toyota learn BYD's low-cost know-how.
A source told Reuters that the development of the new electric sedan helped Toyota resolve some challenges it was facing while developing the compact EV.
Furthermore, the EV will be the second model to be released under Toyota's new electric sub-brand. As per sources, Toyota will develop the sedan with BYD's "breakthrough" LFP Blade battery."
The sedan will probably be slightly larger than Toyota Corolla, and therefore offer a more spacious cabin. The EV will also be powered by BYD's lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) Blade batteries, which were first used in the company's flagship Han model. The new battery pack is quite compact and cheaper to manufacture, According to BYD.
For now, the new EV will be sold only in the Chinese market. The electric sedan will have to establish itself in the world's largest EV market against other popular name plates like the Nio ES6, Tesla Model Y, and China's best-selling EV- Guang Mini EV- which retails for just 28,800 yuan (US$4,539). Toyota's more affordable EV will probably retail for around 200,000 yuan ($30,000).
Despite its low price, Toyota has advocated that an electric car should not compromise on quality. However, the automaker also tried to use its political influence to delay the mass adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S.
BYD made headlines back in 2008 when Warren Buffett bought 10% stake in the company. Since then, BYD has become one of the biggest manufacturers of new energy vehicles in the world.
With that in mind, the Toyota-BYD partnership could see the fast production of more affordable and state-of-the-art EVs.
Toyota and BYD's new EV concept will make its world debut in April next year at the 2022 Beijing Auto Show.
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