Toyota has reportedly partnered with China’s BYD to build a new affordable electric car to launch next year.
The Japanese automaker has widely been recognized as a laggard in the transition to electric vehicles.
Years of betting on hydrogen fuel cells and hybrid vehicles has put Toyota behind on battery-electric vehicles.
But every new electric car on the market can help the electrification of the industry regardless of the politics of the manufacturer.
Now we learn of a new electric vehicle coming from Toyota through an interesting partnership with BYD.
Reuters reports Toyota is planning to release a “small and affordable electric sedan” in China next year:
“Toyota Motor Corp will launch an all-electric small sedan in China late next year, having turned to local partner BYD for key technology to finally make an affordable yet roomy runaround, four sources told Reuters.”
The electric vehicle is reportedly going to be powered by BYD’s blade battery cells with LFP chemistry.
LFP chemistry has improved enough in recent years that it is moving from mainly being used in electric buses to now electric cars.
BYD’s blade battery has attracted a lot of attention – even from Tesla, according to reports coming out of China.
A Toyota source talking to Reuters said that it is what is enabling the automaker to produce its first affordable all-electric car:
“The car was enabled by BYD battery technology. 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.”
The new electric vehicle will reportedly be slightly bigger than the Toyota Corolla and sell for less than under 200,000 yuan ($30,000).
It’s not clear if the automaker plans to introduce the new electric vehicle outside of China.
A Toyota spokesperson commented on the Reuters report:
“We don’t comment on future products. 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.”
BYD declined to comment.
The new electric vehicle is expected to be unveiled in April at the Beijing auto show and become the second BZ electric car from Toyota following the BZ4X electric SUV coming to the US next year.