BYD and Toyota have established a 50/50 joint venture to conduct R&D for battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). The new company will be headquartered in Shenzhen City, is expected to have around 300 employees, and is to begin operations in May 2020.
“With the engineers from BYD and Toyota working together under the same roof, we aim to develop BEVs that are superior in performance and meet the needs of customers in China by merging the two companies’ strengths and also through friendly rivalry,” said Hirohisa Kishi, Chairman of the new company.
Toyota is the world’s largest automaker by most measures, but it’s arguably the one that is the farthest behind when it comes to e-mobility. So a collaboration with BYD, a forward-looking company that was the world’s largest producer of EVs until Tesla stole the crown, would seem to be a very promising development.
Before you get too excited about this news, however, consider that Toyota’s plans to develop BEVs are probably only directly relevant to the Chinese market. The Japanese automaker already uses BYD (and another Chinese battery-maker, CATL) as a battery supplier. In recent years, it has made noises about accelerating its electrification plans, but has yet to announce any pure EVs for Europe or the US.