Toyota and Geely in talks on hybrid technology tie-up

19 September 2018

19 September, 2018

Japanese vehicle manufacturer Toyota is in talks with Chinese firm Geely about cooperating in petrol-electric hybrid vehicle technology, with no decision as yet on a partnership.

Toyota has been embracing new technologies in recent years, having pioneered hybrid technology that is now being developed and implemented by a number of other carmakers. The company says it was forced into a U-turn on electric vehicles (EVs) while it also has introduced the Mirai hydrogen vehicle, and has a place on the Hydrogen Council.

Geely’s chairman Li Shufu has also become Daimler’s largest shareholder, in a move he hopes will allow the Chinese manufacturer to take advantage of the German company’s alternative fuel technology.

Toyota said in a statement that it and Geely are currently “communicating with each other” about petrol-electric hybrid technology. It is not yet clear which aspects of this market they are talking about.

The statement added: ′Toyota has been conducting the business with the open policy which also applies to the area of electrification technologies. The relationship with Geely (Toyota is exploring) is also based on this open policy.’

Reports suggest that talks are focusing on a Chinese supplier of electric battery technology both companies have already been associated with but separately. However, both parties have declined to comment on this.

Toyota has localised production of conventional hybrid vehicles in China and has been selling them in the country since 2015 under the Corolla and Levin brands. It plans to sell plug-in hybrid versions of the two models in 2019.

For a long time, the Prius has been the cornerstone of Toyota’s green strategy worldwide. It planned to use conventional hybrids as its medium-term bridge, largely skipping all-electric vehicles (EVs), as it set its sights towards the hydrogen-powered cars of the future – the company’s ultimate goal.

Geely owns Volvo, which is planning to offer only electrified vehicle models from 2019. The company is also the owner of the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), which builds the London Taxi and is investigating the development of ′last mile’ vans for city deliveries.

Prior to Shufu’s investment, Geely identified Daimler as a company it would like to strike an alliance with to develop electric vehicle (EV) technology. The German manufacturer is currently developing its EQ range of electric vehicles to combat declining diesel sales and is also exploring Hydrogen power.