Toyota unveils PHEV versions of Corolla and Levin to be sold only in China

Article by Christian A., on April 30, 2018

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).

Press Release

Toyota to Introduce 10 New Electrified Vehicles in China by 2020

“Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) announced today that it plans to introduce to the Chinese market plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) versions of its “Corolla” and “Levin” passenger cars in 2019 and a battery electric vehicle (BEV) model based on its “C-HR” / “IZOA”* compact SUV in 2020. Including these, Toyota plans to introduce 10 new electrified vehicles in China by the end of 2020. And, by further promoting its local production of electric motors (powertrain components), batteries, inverters, and other electrified-vehicle core technologies, Toyota aims to further accelerate its China-based vehicle electrification efforts.

The PHEV versions of the Corolla and Levin were unveiled today during the opening day of the Beijing Motor Show. Both models are expected to have a BEV driving range of 50 kilometers or greater, and in 2019, Toyota will begin producing them in China, marking Toyota’s first overseas production of PHEVs.”

“With an aim to achieve locally based vehicle electrification, Toyota has been working with its Chinese partners and members of the Toyota Group to build a local production base for key components. Efforts have included the launch in 2015 of production of transaxles for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) at Toyota Motor (Changshu) Auto Parts Co., Ltd. (TMCAP). Going forward, Toyota intends to respond to further expected growth in demand for electrified vehicles through such measures as increasing the annual production capacity for nickel-metal hydride battery modules at Sinogy Toyota Automotive Energy System Co., Ltd. (STAES) and Corun PEVE Automotive Battery Co., Ltd. (CPAB) to 220,000 units in 2020.

To accelerate its vehicle electrification in China, Toyota is also strengthening its local R&D and production bases. In 2020, it plans to open a new battery testing facility at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (China) Co., Ltd. (TMEC), which is Toyota’s R&D center in China, for evaluating battery packs for electrified vehicles. And, with its sights set on introducing BEVs in 2020, Toyota is steadily enhancing its local production structures.

In 2017, including sales of the “Corolla Hybrid” and “Levin Hybrid” installed with locally produced hybrid units, Toyota sold approximately 140,000 electrified vehicles in China. That brought its cumulative total of electrified vehicles sold in the country to approximately 350,000 units, and Toyota plans to continue enhancing its electrified-vehicle lineup.

As for fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), Toyota is exploring potential applications for its fuel cell technology in China. Last year, it began a three-year verification-test program in China that uses Toyota’s “Mirai” FCEV, and it has expanded the scope of feasibility studies to include commercial vehicles such as buses.

Toyota Senior Managing Officer and Chief Executive Officer, China Region, Kazuhiro Kobayashi said today at the Beijing Motor Show, “We are steadily and confidently advancing all aspects of our environmental strategy in China, the world’s most-advanced country in electrification.”

*To be sold in China as a “C-HR” (by GAC Toyota Motor Co., Ltd.) and as an “IZOA” (by FAW Toyota Motor Sales Co., Ltd.)

Source: Toyota

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