Toyota Bets Big on Chinese EV Market With BYD Partnership

Japanese carmaker is growing its presence in the booming Chinese market.

Toyota is partnering with BYD, a Chinese electric automaker, to build electric vehicles (EV)—and EV batteries—for the Chinese market.

In a joint statement, the companies said that they would develop sedans and sport utility vehicles to be sold in China under the Toyota brand as early as next year.

Toyota is a relative newcomer to the battery EV market, but the carmaker has an ambitious plan for that growing market. The company intends for EVs to make up half of its global sales by 2025—five years ahead of its original schedule.

China is the biggest EV market in the world—and Toyota seems intent on leveraging that market to make its plan successful. The company currently has a minimal presence in that booming market and is working to expand its footprint.

Enter BYD, the number one global producer of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles since 2015. The company was founded in 1995 as a battery maker but has grown into an energy solution company—and can claim Warren Buffet as one of its backers.

Inside BYD’s electric car factory.

“To curb global warming, both BYD and Toyota seek to reduce CO2 emissions by promoting the widespread use of BEVs (battery electric vehicles),” said Toyota in a news release. “To accomplish these goals, both companies believe there is a need to put aside their rivalry and collaborate; therefore, the two companies have agreed to jointly develop BEVs.”

The deal with BYD, impressive as it is, isn’t the only foray from Toyota into the Chinese electric vehicle market this year. The carmaker premiered its C-HR and IZOA battery-powered electric vehicles at Auto Shanghai 2019; they will be the first BEVs to launch in China under the Toyota brand, likely in 2020.

And Toyota landed another noteworthy deal with China’s largest EV battery maker, Contemporary Amperex Technology Company, to buy electric car batteries from them. It is an extensive partnership that will see the companies collaborate on new technology, stabilizing supply, improving product quality and reusing and recycling spent batteries.

Competition in the global EV market is growing more intense as an increasing number of automakers are entering the market. Toyota seems to be betting that China, a world leader in electric vehicles, will hold the key to its success.

Read more about China’s influence in the electric vehicle market at Tesla Pushing Ahead for Gigafactory 3 In Shanghai amid Trade War Tensions.