Thursday, November 21, 2019

Japanese Companies Expand Working Relationship       

Battery electric vehicles are more expensive to develop and produce than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. That’s a fact reinforced by Tesla’s ongoing deficits and the reluctant (but huge) investments major automakers are making to move to EVs. How do you tackle these challenges? Work together to share costs. Toyota, one of the world’s largest automakers, and Subaru, one of the smaller ones, this week announced they will work together on a new EV platform.

Toyota & Subaru already have one collaborative plug-in project

That’s not all that Toyota moved on last week as the company also announced it was partnering with Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. (CATL) of China, the world’s largest automotive battery maker, in order to diversify its supply chain for those future EVs. The wide-ranging partnership will also include BYD of China and Toshiba and GS Yuasa of Japan, three major players in the battery space.

In sum those moves position Toyota to be able to compete with the ambitions of Volkswagen and other automakers who have laid out aggressive plans of electrification. Several of the battery companies Toyota is working with also work with other auto companies.

More Toyota-Subarus

The EV collaboration with Subaru, in which Toyota has a 16 percent ownership stake, is an extension of the two companies existing working relationship, which has produced the Subaru BRZ/and some of the components for the recently introduced .

Toyota & Subaru plan a family of jointly developed EVs

This new project will develop a EV-dedicated platform for midsize and large vehicles that will incorporate Subaru’s all-wheel drive technology with Toyota’s electrification technologies. The first product is expected to be a compact SUV that each company will market under their own brands.

Toyota’s looking beyond this JV to other EV projects

As Toyota and Subaru noted in their joint release, this is all about speed to market and developing products for different markets. The platform will be able to accommodate C-segment (compact) and D-segment (midsize) sedans and SUVs as well as variations on those basic models.  Subaru’s electrification efforts will be subsumed within this joint project while it appears that Toyota, because of its size, will be for smaller EVs that may appeal primarily to Asian markets. In total, they represent a substantial increase in Toyota’s attention to the battery electric vehicle market. In the past the company has indicated it felt fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) were the preferred zero emission technology, and they continue to pursue projects with that technology.

This platform will underpin a variety of future EVs

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Michael Coates is the Editor & Publisher of Smarticd and an internationally recognized expert in the field of automotive environmental issues. He has been an automotive editor and writer for more than three decades. His media experience includes Petersen Publishing (now part of the The Enthusiast Network), the Green Car Journal, trade magazines, newspaper and television news reporting. He currently serves on the board of Western Automotive Journalists and has been an organizer of that group’s Future Cars, Future Technology and Silicon Valley Reinvents the Wheel programs. He also serves as Automotive Editor at Innovation & Tech Today magazine.

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