Having only revealed its first fully electric car in production form a few weeks ago, it looks like Toyota intends to start pushing a little harder on the accelerator in terms of EV commitments.
According to a report by Reuters, the Japanese firm is set to debut a fully electric sedan next year in an attempt to muscle in on the entry-level plug-in market. The catch, as so eloquently referenced in our headline there, is that the model is set to be a Chinese-market exclusive.
Why BYD then? Well Toyota and BYD have enjoyed a joint research and development partnership since 2020, allowing collaborations like this to happen.
More to the point, Toyota is after some of BYD’s battery technology. While it’s unconfirmed whether the new sedan will ride on a BYD platform, it’s understood that it will use BYD’s lithium-phosphate ‘Blade’ batteries.
While tapping BYD for its batteries is a quick way for Toyota to save on development costs, the batteries themselves are also considered to be some of the best in the business. They feature a slim profile (remembering that battery size is often a bit of a design constraint in EVs), and operate similar to the batteries in Tesla’s Chinese-built Model 3s.
The news completes something of a circle when it comes to Toyota’s relationship with BYD. Back in 2005, the fledgling BYD released its F3 sedan, a Corolla sedan copy. Some 16 years later, and it’s Toyota knocking on their door asking for a hand with its homework.
According to reports, the Toyota sedan will be unveiled next April at the Beijing Auto Show with production set to kick off later in the year.
Toyota has already confirmed that a raft of other electric vehicles are heading New Zealand’s way, as part of its ‘bZ’ line-up. The bZ4X is already confirmed for a late 2022 local launch, with seven more bZ models coming in the next five years.