Compiled by J. Wong & D. Fung
Japanese companies Toyota, Mazda and Denso have signed a contract this week to co-develop “basic structural technologies” for electric vehicles (EV), and establish a new company to oversee the related joint development projects. The Japanese trio have established a new company to oversee the development process.
Following the two automotive manufacturers announcing plans to work together on EV technology and connected infotainment systems, this latest announcement adds Denso Corporation into the mix – a Japan-based global automotive components manufacturer that is a subsidiary of Toyota.
The three companies will form a new company to be known as EV C.A. Spirit, which will be tasked with developing EV technology for a wide variety of vehicle segments and types to ensure flexible and rapid response to market trends, and the ultimate goal is to create appealing EVs that embody the unique identities of each brand and avoid the commoditisation of EVs.
According to the partners, this includes regularly-sized passenger cars, crossovers, SUVs and light trucks.
At its inception EV C.A. Spirit will be seeded with 10 million Yen (which isn’t that much) in capital. 90 per cent of which will come from Toyota, with Mazda and Denso kicking in five per cent each.
Despite the unequal financial contributions, the companies say they will be “dedicating an equal amount of development resources”. Any vehicles that head into production will be made at existing factories.
To start with there will be a staff of around 40 employees sourced from the three parent companies. EV C.A. Spirit will be headquartered in Nagoya, near Toyota City.
The partnership aims to innovate the development process by drawing upon each company’s strengths, including Mazda’s product planning and prowess in computer modelling-based development; Denso’s expertise in electronics, along with Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) modular platform – which underpins the Prius, C-HR, and new-generation Camry.
Additionally, the companies aim to create a structure that is open to participation by other automotive manufacturers and suppliers as well.
Mazda and Toyota say they decided to form a partnership in order to deal with new regulations that mandate a certain proportion of electric vehicle sales, but also acknowledging as EVs have 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 automakers when responding to the widely varying demand for vehicles around the world.
Thus far the thrust of Toyota’s zero emissions vehicle plans have been hydrogen fuel cell cars, with the Mirai being its first commercially available product, albeit only in a limited number of markets.
The core part of Toyota’s green technology strategy, though, revolves around hybrids and plug-in hybrids, including its image-leading Prius range.
Notably, the joint statement from the companies, states: “We regard electric vehicles (EVs) as a key technological field in this process [of regulatory compliance] alongside fuel cell vehicles”.
Mazda has largely resisted electrifying its vehicles, although it does sell a hybrid version of the 3 sedan in its home market, which mixes together hybrid components from Toyota and its own SkyActiv petrol engine.
- Toyota Kenya is the official and sole distributor of all new Toyota vehicles in Kenya. They are located along Uhuru Highway, adjacent to Nakumatt Mega, as well as along Waiyaki Way; with a number of dealers spread across the country.
- The company offers after sales service as well as comprehensive warranties for all their vehicles. Check out their official website or visit their showroom(s) for more information.
- CMC Motors is the official and sole distributor of all new Mazda vehicles in Kenya. They are located along Lusaka Road.
- The company offers after sales service as well as comprehensive warranties for all their vehicles. Check out their official website or visit their showroom for more information.