Toyota will boost its electric vehicle development efforts in China as it plays catch up with domestic players in the world’s largest car market, the company said at the beginning of the week, according to Reuters.
The Japanese car group isn’t the only so-called legacy manufacturer that experienced slow sales and a slip in market share in China, with Volkswagen recently resorting to price cuts for its ID.3 all-electric hatchback to improve its sales volume, a move which resulted in over 10,000 orders – a massive improvement over the less than 3,000 units sold in May.
Toyota is regarded by many environmentalists and EV enthusiasts as a laggard in the adoption of an all-electric lineup, after constantly fighting back against the idea of putting big batteries in cars. However, things are going to change, with the Nippon manufacturer announcing a dramatic shift in its EV strategy which will reportedly result in battery-powered vehicles capable of traveling up to 900 miles (1,448 kilometers) sometime after 2028.
Besides developing its own batteries (including solid-state), utilizing big metal castings akin to those made by Tesla, and shaving as many pounds as possible from new EVs, as well as making its future cars as aerodynamic as possible, now Toyota has announced that it will bolster EV technology development in China.
In the powertrain department, suppliers Denso and Aisin will ramp up work, but not only for all-electric vehicles, as Toyota still believes that a diversified lineup consisting of EVs, PHEVs, and hydrogen-powered vehicles is the key to succeeding in sales and the reduction of carbon emissions.
Gallery: Toyota bZ3
Furthermore, local design and development of “smart cockpits” will be underway in China, and engineers from three joint ventures – with FAW Group, Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), and BYD (Build Your Dreams) – will work together on a project basis at Toyota’s largest research and development facility in China. The company stopped short of mentioning how many people will be involved in this mentality shift, but a spokesperson told Reuters that they will focus on electrification and intelligence.
The announcement comes after Toyota reduced production of the locally made bZ4X EV and laid off 1,000 contract workers earlier this month. In the first half of the year, the Japanese company’s Chinese sales, including those from Lexus, slipped 2.8 percent to approximately 879,000 units. By comparison, local brand BYD sold over 1 million passenger plug-in electric vehicles in the same period.
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