Japanese automaker Toyota and Chinese electric carmaker BYD Co. have announced that they will be teaming up to develop and build battery-electric vehicles. Toyota initially announced the partnership through a press release that detailed the two companies’ plans to begin work in creating a line of cars that focus on quality and performance.
The venture has led to the forming of a new company that will be recognized as BYD Toyota EV Technology Co., LTD, according to the press release. Operations will officially begin in May 2020 with Hirohisa Kishi of Toyota as the Chairman, while Zhao Binggen from BYD will hold the title of CEO.
“With the engineers from BYD and Toyota working together under the same roof, we aim to develop BEVs that are superior in performance and meet the needs of customers in China by merging the two companies’ strengths and also through friendly rivalry,” the press release stated.
Despite Toyota’s development of the Prius hybrid that helped the company emerge as a company concerned about environmentally-friendly transportation in the 2000s, the Japan-based carmaker has yet to establish itself as a player in the battery-electric vehicle race. While Toyota continues to focus on hybrids, it has announced its plans to sell half a million electric cars globally in 2025.
Meanwhile, BYD, a company backed by real-estate mogul and investment tycoon Warren Buffett, has emerged as one of China’s premier electric car companies. BYD has developed the e6, which was the best-selling electric car in China in 2016. The e6 has won numerous awards, such as “Best Quality Product” at the Havana International Fair, according to Automotive World.
China holds the largest automotive market in the world, and with over 258 million vehicles on the road in the country, according to Statista, the growing demand for electric cars has enticed many carmakers to adapt to new technologies. While Tesla’s Giga Shanghai production plant is building up an impressive run rate of 3,000 vehicles per week, other automakers are recognizing the success of the company that has emerged as the leader in electric car manufacturing.
Toyota could be looking for a way to not only adapt to the changing market for vehicles but also to increase sales overall. After the Chinese government announced the extension of subsidies for electric cars earlier this week, the decreased cost of vehicles could entice consumers to buy battery-electric instead of petrol-powered cars.