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Toyota accelerates plans for more electric cars

The C-HR will be the first battery electric vehicle from Toyota, but is currently confirmed only for China.

Toyota has teamed with Chinese carmaker BYD to develop and build more battery electric vehicles (BEVS) following the launch of the emissions-free C-HR/Ioza next year.

Though the plug-in C-HR/Ioza small SUV has only been confirmed for the Chinese market so far, Australia will be getting a hybrid version in early 2020.

The 50/50 partnership between Toyota and BYD however, will see both brands pour resources into research and development of future electric vehicles, including platforms and related componentry, to take advantage of the rise in alternative powertrains.

Toyota’s aforementioned C-HR/Ioza electric SUV is the car-making giant’s first mass production battery electric vehicle, though the brand has pioneered electrification through hybrid systems as found in models such as the Prius.

In comparison, rival brands including Nissan, Hyundai and Honda have all already put full-electric vehicles into production.

Mazda will enter the market with a road-legal version of the MX-30 that was revealed in concept form at last month’s Tokyo motor show.

Fielding engineers from both brands who have previously worked on EVs, the Toyota/BYD joint venture Is currently unnamed.

BYD senior vice-president Lian Yu-bo said: “We aim to combine BYD’s strengths in development and competitiveness in the battery electric vehicle market with Toyota’s quality and safety technology to provide the best BEV products for the market demand and consumer affection as early as we can.”

Meanwhile, Toyota executive vice-president Shigeki Terashi said: “With the same goal to further promote the widespread use of electrified vehicles, we appreciate that BYD and Toyota can become ‘teammates’, able to put aside our rivalry and collaborate.

“We hope to further advance and expand both BYD and Toyota from the efforts of the new company with BYD,” he said.

Whether the new company will explore plug-in electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel-cell cars is still unclear.

Earlier this year, Toyota stated its intention to have half its global sales by 2025 in electrified vehicles, which also include petrol-hybrids as seen on the current Corolla, Camry and RAV4.

The new-generation Yaris and Kluger is also set to receive a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain, though the latter is not certain to arrive Down Under.