Toyota enters joint venture with Mazda and Denso to develop electric vehicles

28 September 2017

28 September 2017

Toyota has entered into a joint venture (JV) partnership with fellow Japanese manufacturer Mazda and parts supplier Denso to develop ′basic structural technologies for electric vehicles (EVs).’

The group will form a new company, EV C.A. Spirit Co., and each will provide engineers to ensure efficient uptake of technology and integration into each manufacturer’s production plants. The new company will engage in research into the characteristics that define optimum performance of EVs, efficiency of component installation and performance and concept development for various vehicle types. Toyota will hold a 90% stake of the new company, with Mazda and Denso each taking 5%.

Countries around the world are beginning to adopt stringent policies to help reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases caused by the internal combustion engine. China is adopting a quota system for sales of EVs by manufacturers, while France and the UK have announced bans on traditional engine sales, and Norway is planning to phase out the technology by 2025. Therefore, companies need to be actively pursuing electrification projects. While Toyota has been a leader in hybrid technology, it has previously shown an unwillingness to develop pure electric, although the Chinese quota system forced the company into an ′agonising’ turn around.

A statement released by Toyota comments: ′Complying with these [various strict] regulations, while ensuring the sustainable growth of our companies, requires the development of a wide range of powertrains and technologies. We regard electric vehicles (EVs) as a key technological field in this process, alongside fuel cell vehicles. With EVs yet to find widespread market acceptance, the huge investments and time required to cover all markets and vehicle segments is a pressing issue for individual auto manufacturers when responding to the widely varying demand for vehicles around the world.

′Mazda, Denso and Toyota have decided to jointly develop basic structural technologies for EVs capable of covering a wide variety of vehicle segments and types to ensure flexible and rapid response to market trends. This agreement covers a diverse range of models, including passenger vehicles, SUVs and light trucks.’

In August, Toyota announced that it had taken a 5% stake in Mazda, as part of an alliance that will see the companies build a US assembly plant and work together on the development and production of EVs. The new JV is seen as a further step in this partnership as both companies look to secure a future in the automotive market. Marking the agreement, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said: ′There will be new rivals appearing – Apple, Google – these are IT companies, we also need to compete with them too.’

Mazda has also announced plans to offer electrification in all of its model ranges by 2035. As the company only offers one hybrid to market, the new JV is the best approach for the Japanese manufacturer to achieve this target.

Photograph courtesy of Toyota