Toyota To Start Producing Mass EVs in China in 2019
Toyota Motor Corp. will probably begin mass production of electric vehicles (EVs) in China as early as 2019.
The Chinese government is aiming to impose production quotas for “new energy cars” as early as in 2018, and the Japanese automaker is committed to meeting the quota and remaining competitive in the world’s largest car market.
The production of zero-emission vehicles is in line with Toyota's earlier plan to start large-scale output of electric vehicles by 2020 to meet stricter exhaust emission regulations worldwide.
In 2012, Toyota launched the RAV4 EV, an electric SUV that runs on lithium-ion batteries from Tesla. However, only 2,500 units of the models were sold, leading the Japanese automaker to cut back.
The model will be based on the C-HR sport utility vehicle and manufactured for Chinese market only. The pace of production is to be decided after taking into account the regulations and the subsidies, the report said, adding that annual output could start with more than several thousand units.
"We are going to introduce EVs in China with a few years,” Toyota spokesman Ryo Sakai said. “However, we don't talk about any future product plans."
The automaker has not decided how many electric cars it might produce in China. However, it will probably focus on SUVs as these kinds of vehicles are popular among Chinese drivers. They would also require less time to bring to market since they already have built-in space for the big batteries that will be needed.
Over the long term, Toyota is prioritizing fuel cell-powered vehicles. However, setting up an adequate number of hydrogen stations, essential infrastructure if these cars are ever to catch on, requires time.
Keen to combat air pollution, China is planning to set goals for electric and plug-in hybrid cars to make up at least a fifth of Chinese auto sales by 2025, with a staggered system of quotas beginning in 2018.
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