Toyota is teaming up with a major competitor to produce an electric crossover sports car
Toyota is known in the industry for co-developing vehicles with other automakers. In 2012, the brand launched the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ that it co-developed with the four-wheel drive specialist, then teamed up with BMW in 2019 to create the Toyota Supra and BMW Z4.
Now in late 2023, Japan’s No. 1 automaker has just announced that it has co-developed an all-electric crossover SUV with Chinese company BYD, which features a distinctive fastback style that it expects to launch by 2026.
First unveiled at the Shanghai Motor Show in April this year, the new crossover will be a “champion of style”, says Toyota, offering first-time electric vehicle buyers an “attractive proposition”. With this new style of crossover, the automaker believes it can offer a stylish and viable alternative to the current crop of SUVs. According to Toyota, the aim is to bring a change of pace from the moment you enter by allowing younger customers the ability to create their own “personal space” within a redefined cabin layout.
This vehicle has five doors and ample space for luggage and rear passengers, making it an attractive alternative to SUVs. The crossover sports car is produced by BYD Toyota EV Tech Co, a joint venture with China’s leading electric vehicle maker BYD.
The two companies have already launched a jointly developed electric car – bZ3 – in China. The controversial bZ4X (an electric car recalled after the wheels were detached from the car), electric SUV and electric sedan are built on Toyota’s e-TNGA platform. However, BYD supplies the Blade LFP’s high-end batteries, electric motor and control system.
According to one source, this system will likely be used in Toyota’s upcoming electric vehicle concept, which is one of five new electric vehicles to be launched in Europe by 2026. The new electric SUV will be Toyota’s cheapest electric vehicle and is expected to Competing with the likes of Volvo. EX30, Jeep Avenger, and Hyundai Kona Electric.
By 2026, Toyota expects 20% of its sales to be fully electric in European sales, which equates to more than 250,000 vehicles per year. The automaker says its additional focus on electric vehicles will help it achieve full carbon neutrality by 2040.
It’s great to see two of the world’s largest car producers joining forces to create the next generation of electric vehicles. However, it seems a bit strange that Toyota recently unveiled a host of innovations, featuring a dedicated electric vehicle platform, next-generation batteries – developed with Panasonic, and manufacturing upgrades to streamline the production process, improve range and reduce costs. The question arises – if Toyota has all the pieces of the puzzle needed to make its own electric cars, including batteries thanks to Panasonic, why does it need to tie up with BYD?
And one more thing – as for sales in the US, the verdict is still out on whether we’ll see the Toyota – or its Chinese counterpart – reach our shores.