China is considered as the largest auto market in the world, and Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor Corporation isn't letting go of title. Aside from its conventionally powered products, Toyota is accelerating its China-based vehicle electrification efforts by launching 10 new electrified vehicles in the country by the end of the decade.
Leading the charge for Toyota are the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) versions of the Corolla and Levin passenger cars in 2019. To show its commitment, Toyota unveiled the Corolla PHEV and the Levin PHEV at the 2018 Beijing Auto Show. According to the carmaker, both the Corolla PHEV and the Levin PHEV expected to achieve an electric driving range of 50 km or farther. Production of these two new PHEV models is seen to commence in China in 2019.
Toyota launched the conventional hybrid variants of the Corolla and Levin in 2017, with production done domestically. The carmaker – through its local partners – intends to do same with the Corolla PHEV and the Levin PHEV, as it aims to achieve locally based vehicle electrification.
In fact, the company has been cooperating with members of the Toyota Group as well as domestic partners to ensure that there is a local production base for key components. In 2015, transaxles for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) have been produced at Toyota Motor (Changshu) Auto Parts Co., Ltd., which was established in 2012 to develop and manufacture automotive powertrain components.
Moreover, since it is expecting a surge in demand in electrified vehicles in China, it has decided to increase the annual production capacity for nickel-metal hydride battery modules at Sinogy Toyota Automotive Energy System Co., Ltd. and Corun PEVE Automotive Battery Co., Ltd. to around 220,000 units in 2020.
R&D and production strengths are considered crucial to the success of Toyota’s vehicle electrification program in China. To achieve this, Toyota is planning to open by 2020 a new battery testing site at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (China) Co., Ltd. TMEC serves as Toyota's R&D center in the country and is in charge of assessing battery packs for its electrified vehicle offerings.
Aside from the new Toyota Corolla PHEV and Levin PHEV, the carmaker is also planning to introduce all-electric compact SUVs. The battery electric vehicles or BEVs will be derived from the Toyota C-HR or Toyota IZOA. To note, the C-HR and the IZOA are the same compact SUVs but are sold and marketed by different entities. The C-HR is sold by GAC Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. while the IZOA is marketed by FAW Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.
Furthermore, Toyota is already exploring possible applications for its fuel cell technology in China. In fact, Toyota already commenced in 2017 a three-year verification-test program in China, employing the Mirai fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV).