Toyota has reached out to some of its partner companies to build a partnership that will develop electric vehicle technology. With hydrogen fuel cell technology going nowhere fast, Toyota recognizes that to stay the leader in green vehicle technology a firm foundation of electric vehicle technology is a must. To that end, the new venture will carve out some talent that will be set to work on future EV technologies.
Thus far, every affordable mainstream EV aside from the RAV4 EV, now discontinued, is basically a compact car. Compact cars are a shrinking segment. Drivers want crossovers and pickup trucks and midsized sedans in that order of total sales. The trend is for cars to continue to see a shrinking piece of the overall sales pie. Toyota's announcement made it clear that the company is thinking beyond Bolt and Leaf sized cars, saying, "Complying with environmental regulations, while ensuring the sustainable growth of our companies, requires the development of a wide range of powertrains and technologies. 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."
The plan is to develop a common EV architecture that can be validated and adapted to a variety of EV segments. Toyota also points out that EVs have yet to gain any significant acceptance in the marketplace, making a solo effort cost inefficient. Thus, the three partners will each send engineers and resources to work at a new corporate entity based in Nakamura, Nagoya, Japan. The company will initially employ 40 persons and Toyota is expected to bear the burden of about 90% of the costs and thus have about a 90% equity stake.