Japanese automotive manufacturer Toyota will launch an electric small sedan in the Chinese market later next year, Reuters learned from four sources on Friday. In an effort to make cars with reasonable prices and plenty of interior space, Toyota turned to partner BYD for key technologies. Neither company would comment on this news as of Friday.
Toyota sees the pure electric sedan as a key product in China’s electric vehicle (EV) market, two of the sources said. For years, Toyota has been trying to introduce a small EV in the Chinese market that is competitive in price without sacrificing ride comfort.
This electric car will be unveiled as a concept car at Auto China in April next year, and will probably be launched in the Chinese market as the second model of Toyota’s new bZ series.
According to sources, this car adopts BYD’s battery technology. In addition, Toyota’s new EV is highly competitive in terms of price, which may be less than 200,000 yuan ($31,381), aiming at the small EV sector that Tesla is expected to enter in the next two years.
BYD and Toyota have previously established cooperation. On July 9, 2019, BYD disclosed at the Shenzhen Stock Exchange that it had signed a contract with Toyota whereby the two parties agreed to jointly develop EVs. They will jointly develop pure electric sedans and low-chassis SUVs, which use the Toyota brand and are planned to be launched in the Chinese market before 2025. At the same time, both parties will jointly develop power batteries needed for the above models.
On April 2, 2020, a joint venture focused on pure electric vehicles was established by BYD and Toyota. According to Tianyancha, a commercial inquiry platform, the joint venture is settled in Shenzhen with a registered capital of 345 million yuan, with BYD and Toyota each contributing 50%. The new firm is called BYD Toyota EV Technology Co., Ltd. and has Hirohisa Kishi from Toyota as chairman, with Zhao Binggen from BYD as CEO.
According to BYD, its cooperation with Toyota will give full play to their respective technical strengths in the fields of EVs and batteries, aiming at developing more attractive pure electric vehicles and promoting their further development and popularization.