Daihatsu Motor Co., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota engaged in micro vehicles (kei cars), and CATL announced an MOU of Strategic Cooperation on battery supply and battery technologies.
According to the agreement, CATL will provide a stable supply of lithium-ion EV batteries for the upcoming Daihatsu electric vehicles, which will be offered in Japan as well as in emerging markets.
There is no info about the battery chemistry, but Daihatsu is specifically interested in CATL's cell-to-pack (CTP) battery systems (as well as BMS), which in the latest 3.0 version, allows achieving energy density (on the pack level) of:
≥ 160 Wh/kg
≥ 290 Wh/l
≥ 250 Wh/kg: 255 Wh/kg according to the latest press release
≥ 450 Wh/l
It seems that Daihatsu is finally turning towards all-electric kei cars, potentially because Nissan/Mitsubishi is pushing hard in this segment right now.
Small electric vehicles are really a perfect application for EVs and usually they do not require a long driving range, so the affordable LFP batteries should be good enough for them. the range is also less of a problem thanks to improved fast charging capabilities (the latest CATL systems can potentially recharge from 10 to 80% state-of-charge in 10 minutes).
"With CATL’s advanced batteries, Daihatsu will be able to ramp up production and performance of high-quality and affordable electric vehicles not only in Japan but also emerging markets. The cooperation will accelerate Daihatsu’s transition to electrification production, helping it achieve zero carbon goals in the long run."
The selection of CATL as a battery partner is not a surprise, considering that it's the largest EV battery supplier globally as well as Toyota's partner since at least 2019.
Toyota is already using a 72.8 kWh battery in one of the versions of the Toyota bZ4X model (the other version is equipped with a 71.4 kWh battery from Panasonic's Prime Planet Energy & Solutions).
It means that the Toyota-CATL partnership is on track for gradual global expansion and most likely we will see many new Toyota EVs with CATL battery cells.