On July 31, Toyota announced that in order to provide satisfactory and competitive electric products to Chinese customers, Toyota decided to further strengthen the local research and development of intelligent and electrified technology.
It is understood that Toyota Automotive Research and Development Center (China) Co., Ltd., Toyota's largest R & D base in China, will officially change its name to Toyota Intelligent Electric vehicle Research and Development Center (China) Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "IEM by TOYOTA") on August 1st. The R & D center engineers of Toyota's three joint ventures in China (FAW Toyota Motor Co., Ltd., Guangzhou Automobile Toyota Co., Ltd., and BYD Toyota Electric vehicle Technology Co., Ltd.) will all join the research and development project led by IEM by TOYOTA. Denso and Ericsson will also participate in the research and development of IEM by TOYOTA to speed up the research and development of electric powertrain.
In the field of electrification, Toyota uses multi-path solutions as the core to achieve carbon neutrality and strengthen the local research and development of omni-directional electric vehicles (BEV, PHEV, HEV, FCEV). In the field of intelligence, Toyota will accelerate the design and development of intelligent cockpits to achieve better user experience through live space design and AI technology, as well as autopilot technology and advanced safety technology that are more in line with the actual road conditions in China.
Toyota China said that in order to improve its competitiveness, it would strive to achieve a sharp reduction in manufacturing costs through measures in three areas: "expanding local suppliers", "improving parts design" and "reforming production technology and manufacturing processes". Toyota China Minister Daro Ueda said: by promoting local research and development with IEM by TOYOTA as the core, we can rapidly develop and provide products that satisfy Chinese customers and are competitive.
According to data released by Toyota, 5.4198 million new cars (including Dafa / Hino) were delivered worldwide in the first half of 2023, up 5.5 per cent from a year earlier, with a total of 879400 new cars delivered in the Chinese market, down 2.8 per cent from the same period last year. It is worth mentioning that Toyota's global sales of electric vehicles (BEV, PHEV, HEV, FCEV) reached 1.7103 million in the first half of the year, up 23.2% from the same period last year, but only 46200 pure electric vehicles were sold.
In the most competitive Chinese market, Toyota's performance in the electric car market is also far below expectations. Data show that Toyota sold 294500 electric models in China in the first half of the year, up 6.2% from the same period last year, but most of the sales came from HEV models, while the market performance of BEV models was mediocre. Toyota already has domestic electric vehicles, including bZ4X and bZ3, of which bZ4X sold 9173 and bZ3 8222 in the first half of the year.
Although Toyota has a relatively positive layout in China's electric vehicle market, if it wants to further improve the market scale, it must enhance its competitiveness in China's pure electric vehicle market. Toyota previously announced that it has achieved technological breakthroughs and material solutions to solve the durability of solid-state batteries, and is expected to achieve a range of 1200 kilometers for electric vehicles with solid-state batteries, and the charging time will be reduced to 10 minutes or less. Toyota said it will achieve small-scale mass production of all-solid-state batteries by 2025 and take the lead in hybrid models, start producing solid-state batteries for electric vehicles by 2027, gradually achieve large-scale production of solid-state batteries from 2027 to 2028, and achieve sustained and stable production of Toyota all-solid-state batteries by 2030.
In addition, Toyota will adopt integrated die-casting technology on pure electric vehicles that will be put on the market in 2026 to improve the cost competitiveness of pure electric vehicles, thereby boosting sales. It is worth mentioning that Toyota will also consider applying the technology to models other than pure electric vehicles, which can significantly reduce the number of parts and production processes by embedding large body parts integrated with aluminum casting equipment.
As more and more automakers cut prices in the Chinese market, Toyota's dominant position in the era of internal combustion engines is threatened. Although Toyota has invested tens of billions of yuan in electrification, however, due to the ability of intelligent cockpit and high-end smart driving, the performance of Volkswagen electric vehicle market is far below expectations. It is urgent to accelerate the local research and development of intelligence and electrification and strengthen the competitiveness of the Chinese market.
In the era of internal combustion engines, it is very difficult for Chinese local car companies to gain recognition from international car companies, and the technology they have accumulated in engines, gearboxes and so on is enough for us to learn for decades. In the era of electrification, domestic electric cars began to lead the entire automobile industry, and joint venture brands collapsed rapidly, making international car companies have to compromise and begin to cooperate with domestic brands or buy technology, which may be their only way out.
A few days ago, the German Volkswagen Group announced that it would take a stake in Xiaopeng Motors. The two sides plan to jointly develop two electric models of the Volkswagen brand for the medium-sized car market in China. The first model is scheduled to enter the market in 2026. It is understood that the two pure electric models will be jointly developed based on Xiaopeng G9's electric vehicle platform and software. Xiaopeng will contribute the vehicle platform as well as intelligent cockpit and intelligent driving system, while Volkswagen will provide the world's leading engineering and supply chain capabilities.
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