Just days after announcing a Chinese battery deal, Toyota has announced that it will partner with another company, BYD, to develop all-electric cars in China.

Together, Toyota and BYD will develop all-electric sedans and low-floor SUVs. The vehicles will be launched under the Toyota brand name “in the first half of the 2020s.”

Toyota previously announced its intention to partner with BYD on batteries, which the carmaker now says will be developed both for the new all-electric vehicles, and other vehicles.

Earlier this week, Toyota reached a deal to partner with another battery company in China, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited (CATL). The CATL deal is solely a battery deal, involving no EV development. Toyota also has a battery partnership with Panasonic.

Toyota’s release about its new partnership touches on the need to put its rivalry with BYD aside:

To curb global warming, both BYD and Toyota seek to reduce CO2 emissions by promoting the widespread use of BEVs. To accomplish these goals, both companies believe there is a need to put aside their rivalry and collaborate; therefore, the two companies have agreed to jointly develop BEVs.

Toyota is looking to accelerate its all-electric car plans after lagging behind for years, though the company has said it’s not turning away from hybrids, either.

It debuted two nearly similar subcompact crossover vehicles in China earlier this year — the C-HR and IZOA, both pictured above. Those cars are expected to hit the Chinese market next year.

BYD broke ground on a 20 GWh battery gigafactory earlier this year. The company produces a number of its own electric vehicles, including electric cars for China, electric trucks, and electric buses.

BYD also already has a partnership with Daimler for making electric cars for the Chinese market under the Denza brand name.

Electrek’s Take

A lot of what we said a few days ago still applies. Toyota is changing its ways, at least somewhat — it simply has to do so to keep up in the Chinese market.

Toyota now has partnerships with two major Chinese battery makers, and one would think the carmaker could certainly stand to benefit from BYD’s massive 20 GWh gigafactory in the works. It’s now putting itself in a decent position, at least as far as battery development goes.

We do have questions about the vague timeframe for the vehicles in this particular deal. Releasing new electric cars in the “first half of the 2020s” means these cars could still be 5-6 years away. If that’s the case, it’s not quick enough.


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