Toyota is looking at EV plans in China through its Chinese partners, but still seem to be obsessed with hydrogen fuel cells.
With the Chinese government’s plan to electrify China’s auto industry, there is big opportunity for manufacturers who can deliver cars to meet the upcoming quotas. However, foreign companies can only operate in China as part of joint ventures with domestic partners. CleanTechnica and Reuters report that Toyota is considering building battery electric vehicles with their Chinese partners, China FAW and Guangzhou Automobile.
Under such an arrangement, the design and manufacture would all be done in China. Toyota is usually accustomed to adapting foreign designs to specific markets, so this will be a new way of doing business for the manufacturer.
Readers who are familiar with Toyota’s anti-battery history will know that designing and building a battery electric vehicle is new ground for them, and stands in contrast with their chairman’s recent statements. According to Toyota, electric cars are not ready for mass production. It would appear that the need for a foothold in China has led to the Chinese government dragging Toyota kicking and screaming into the world of battery electric vehicles. So, it should be no surprise that they also said they intend to “study” the feasibility of hydrogen fuel cells in the Chinese market and expand their study to include fuel cell buses.
Either way, we are seeing Toyota take their first steps into the EV world.