(Yicai Global) Aug. 29 -- Toyota Motor plans to bring its first electric cars to China in 2020, tapping into booming demand, as part of a wider ambition to make the country its top buyer of clean energy vehicles.
The Japanese carmaker attaches great importance to the Chinese auto market and will accelerate the introduction of electric vehicles, according to Toyota's technical expert Kaoru Kubo. It aims to sell two models in China, starting in 2020, he said at an electrical technology conference held in Qingdao yesterday.
Toyota faces tough competition from foreign and local rivals such as BYD Auto and Beijing Automotive Group. Japan's Nissan Motor also began turning out its first zero-emission low-cost sedan in China yesterday and will start deliveries next month. Global car giants like Volkswagen have brought about a wave of joint ventures and new production bases to tap China's new energy vehicle market, a sector that is thriving partly thanks to state subsidies that make the option affordable.
Toyota has been cooperating with Japanese electronics giant Panasonic on batteries for its hybrid electric vehicles and is in talks about developing ones for all-electric cars, Dong Changzheng, the deputy general manager of Toyota Motor China Investment, told Yicai Global. Panasonic also supplies batteries to Tesla, but those are cylindrical batteries while Toyota uses square ones.
The company is going to build new assembly plants that can produce 200,000 vehicles a year in the southern city of Guangzhou and expand its facilities in the eastern city of Tianjin to produce 110,000 plug-in hybrids and 10,000 electric vehicles, the China edition of Japanese business daily Nikkei reported. By 2021, Toyota's overall output capacity will rise 35 percent to 1.7 million vehicles a year.
The firm is accelerating plans to turn electric in terms of production scale and output of EV and fuel cell vehicle technologies in China. It will announce specific measures as they are available, Dong said.
Toyota expects to bring more than 10 models of new energy vehicle to the global market in the first half of the next decade, Kubo added.
Editor: Emmi Laine