Toyota took to the stage at the Beijing Motor Show last month to announce plans to bring 10 new electrified vehicles to the Chinese market by the end of 2020.
In contrast with many of the long-game electrification announcements from legacy automakers, Toyota backed its statement up with the reveal of 3 new plug-in vehicles. Toyota brought out plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) versions of the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Levin, which will come to market next year, as well as a fully electric version of Toyota’s popular C-HR / IZOA Compact SUV, which will follow in 2020.
Senior managing officer and chief executive officer for Toyota China, Kazuhiro Kobayashi, said at the Beijing Motor Show, “We are steadily and confidently advancing all aspects of our environmental strategy in China, the world’s most-advanced country in electrification.”
Toyota also announced that it built the new plug-in vehicles using locally produced electric motors, batteries, inverters and other supporting plug-in vehicle components — something that makes Chinese leadership happy.
The Corolla and Levin are expected to have an all-electric range of at least 31 miles (50 kilometers), which is only a slight improvement over the popular Prius Prime, which has an all-electric range of 25 miles (40 kilometers). Toyota’s entry into the plug-in vehicle market in China will face sharp headwinds against established plug-in vehicle manufacturers that are already selling thousands of PHEVs and BEVs per month as China continues its aggressive push into “new energy vehicles.”
The new plug-in vehicles for the Chinese market will be assembled in China thanks to the company’s $295 million investment in establishing Toyota Motor Changshu Auto Parts Co., Ltd in 2012 to build Continuously Variable Transmissions for the local market. In 2015, Toyota invested additional funds to add the production of transaxles for its hybrid electric vehicles at the facility and plans to make further investments to scale up operations for plug-in electric vehicle capacity.
In preparation for the new vehicles, Toyota is also working with its local partners to ramp up the annual production capacity of nickel-metal hydride battery modules at its Sinogy Toyota Automotive Energy System Co. and Corun PEVE Automotive Battery Co., Ltd. facilities to 220,000 units in 2020.
We have reached out to Toyota to get more detail about its electrification plans for North American and European Markets and will update this article when we hear back.