An all-electric compact car in China will be launched next year by Japan’s an all-electric compact car in China, said a report from news agency Reuters, quoting information from sources with knowledge of the matter.
The vehicle is reported to have been made with the help of Toyota’s local Chinese partner BYD which supplied the essential technologies that allowed the Japanese auto making giant to ultimately churn out a cheap yet roomy vehcile for the masses.
The vehicle was described as an electric holy grail for Toyota, sources were quoted in the report as saying. For years, the Japanese vehicle maker has been struggling to develop a tiny electric vehicle which can be both competitive cost-wise as in the Chinese market as well as comfortable to use.
The breakthrough, according to the insiders, was largely due to BYD’s smaller and lighter lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) Blade batteries and lower-cost technical know-how of the company, which helped the Chinese company to stage a turnaround. BYD’s successful F3 sedan was inspired by Toyota’s Corolla back in 2005.
BYD, or “Build Your Dreams,” made headlines in 2008 when Warren Buffett took a 10 per cent investment in the company, and it has since grown to become one of the world’s largest makers of so-called new energy cars. The company however was not well known outside of China till recently.
Compared to the smaller of the Corolla, Toyota’s new electric vehicle will be somewhat larger. Corolla is the best-selling automobile of the world.
The new electric vehicle from Toyota should be viewed as “a Corolla with a larger back-seat portion,” one of the sources told Reuters .
The new electric vehicle form the Japanese company will be shown as a concept car at the Beijing auto show in April next year, and will most likely be released as the second model in Toyota’s new bZ line of all-electric automobiles, although for the time being exclusively in China.
“The car was enabled by BYD battery technology,” one of the sources told Reuters. “It has more or less helped us resolve challenges we had faced in coming up with an affordable small electric sedan with a roomy interior.”
It will be positioned below luxury electric vehicles like Tesla’s Model Y and the Nio ES6, but above the Hong Guang Mini EV, which begins at just $4,500 and is now China’s best-selling electric car.
Two of the four individuals, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorised to speak to the media, claimed the new Toyota will be reasonably priced.
According to one source, it would likely retail for less than 200,000 yuan ($30,000), aiming for a part of the Chinese market that Tesla is anticipated to target with a tiny car in the next two years.
“We don’t comment on future products,” a Toyota spokesperson said. “Toyota considers battery electric vehicles as one path to help us get to carbon neutrality and is engaged in the development of all types of electrified vehicle solutions.”
There were no comments available from BYD in the report.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)