Announced at the Beijing motor show, a zero-emission, all-electric version of the C-HR crossover will be produced for the Chinese market from 2020. The car will follow two new versions of existing Toyota plug-in hybrids – the Corolla and Levin sedans – due in 2019. These cars are claimed to be capable of 30 miles when in pure-electric mode.
The trio of newly announced plug-in cars are part of Toyota’s plans to introduce 10 electrified models by 2020. The announcement follows the Chinese government’s requirement for a certain quota of a car brand’s sales to be electric. China’s demand for plug-in cars is so large that Toyota alone sold 1,40,000 electrified cars there last year. That figure represented 40 percent of all Toyota electrified car sales in that market to date.
Toyota will produce the electric motors, batteries and inverters for its plug-in Chinese models. To satisfy the increasing demand for its plug-in cars, Toyota plans to raise its production capacity for nickel-metal hydride battery modules to 2,20,000 units in 2020. It will also open a battery testing facility, Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing, in China.
The Japanese brand recently revealed that it is working to commercialise solid-state batteries by the early 2020s; if it achieves this goal, Toyota would be the first car maker to do so. The technology enables more energy to be stored in its battery than an equivalent of lithium-ion batteries. It is expected to be a game changer for electric vehicles.