Toyota expands R&D facilities in China; PHEVs coming under Corolla Levin lineup; fuel cell vehicle demos
Toyota Motor Corporation has expanded the R&D facilities at Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (China) Co., Ltd., (TMEC). This is in accordance with the initial investment plan, which had been created at the time of the establishment of the R&D facilities. Specifically, the plan includes improvements to the existing laboratory facility, construction of a new laboratory, creation of a battery evaluation and test facility, as well as improvements to test tracks on the premises. These are scheduled to be completed from late 2018 onwards.
TMEC was established in 2010, in line with Toyota’s aim to produce cars in China for the Chinese market. To this end, TMEC was created with the intention to emphasize on the localization and strengthening of organizational development in the country.
Since then, TMEC has worked toward the promotion and expansion of cars that are equipped with China-made hybrid systems for the Chinese market. In 2012, Toyota Motor (Changshu) Auto Parts Co., Ltd., was created as the local production company for the main hybrid system (hybrid vehicle transaxle). This was followed by the establishment of the Sinogy Toyota Automotive Energy System Co., Ltd. (STAES), a hybrid battery production company in 2013. Altogether, these developments led to the October 2015 launch of the Corolla Hybrid and the Levin Hybrid which are fitted with China-made hybrid systems.
Toyota has been using each of the distinct characteristics of hybrid, plug-in hybrids, electric, and fuel cell vehicles to develop and promote the full range of eco-cars. The Chinese government is currently promoting eco-cars under its Energy-Saving and New Energy Automotive Industry Development Plan. In line with this plan, Toyota is planning the introduction of plug-in hybrids under its Corolla Levin lineup, in addition to its current effort to promote the wider use of hybrid vehicles.
Additionally, preparations are underway to begin demonstration tests for fuel cell vehicles in China, and to conduct research for the introduction of electric vehicles into the China market. Amid the growing intensity of competition in the Chinese market and the increasingly stringent regulations in relation to motor vehicles, Toyota intends to continue with the emphasis on the making of ever-better cars through the further expansion of TMEC’s R&D facilities, and the reinforcement of its technological development capability.