Toyota to launch ultra-compact battery vehicle, tie up with China's CATL

FILE PHOTO: A Toyota logo is displayed at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp will launch an ultra-compact, battery-powered car that seats two by next year and will tie up with Chinese battery maker CATL, it said on Friday, to accommodate an accelerated shift to electric vehicles.

Japan’s largest automaker said it aimed to have half of its global vehicle sales to be electrified vehicles by 2025, five years ahead of its previous target. As part of that push, it said it needed to increase the supply of batteries, citing greater-than-expected growth of the electric vehicle (EV) market.

There “may be a gap” between Toyota’s own battery needs and what it could produce itself, Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi told a briefing.

He said the company would partner with leading Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL), as well as Chinese EV maker BYD Co Ltd for supplies.

The company also announced an ultra-compact two-seater designed for daily errands and short-distance business trips, with a maximum speed of 60 km (37 miles) per hour and a range of 100 km on a single charge.

On Thursday, it announced that it was teaming up with Subaru Corp to jointly develop a battery-electric sport-utility vehicle (SUV) on a platform produced together as they seek to split development costs.

CATL has built relationships with other Japanese automakers, including Honda Motor Co Ltd and Nissan Motor Co Ltd. It also signed a multi-billion dollar battery supply deal with Volvo Car Group in May.

Reporting by Kevin Buckland and Naomi Tajitsu; Writing by David Dolan; editing by Uttaresh.V

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