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Toyota Teams Up With BYD To Make Sports Crossover EV

Toyota tied up with BYD to create this electric sports crossover.

Photo courtesy of Toyota

Toyota is well known in the industry for co-developing cars with other carmakers. In 2012, the brand launched the Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ it jointly developed with the AWD specialist, and then teamed up with BMW in 2019 to create the Toyota Supra and BMW Z4.

Now in late 2023, Japan’s No 1 carmaker has just announced that it has co-developed a new fully electric sports crossover with China’s BYD, boasting a distinct fastback style it expects to launch by 2026.

The new EV is expected to go on sale in Europe by 2026.

Photo courtesy of Toyota

First revealed at Auto Shanghai in April this year, the new crossover will be a ‘style hero,’ claims Toyota, offering first-time EV buyers an “attractive proposition.” With this new style of crossover, the carmaker believes it can offer a stylish, viable alternative to the current crop of SUVs. According to Toyota the goal is to deliver a shift of pace from the moment you get in by allowing younger customers the ability to create their own ‘personal space’ inside a redefined cabin design.

Featuring five doors and ample room for both luggage and rear passengers, the concept presents an attractive substitute for SUVs. The Sport Crossover is produced by BYD Toyota EV Tech Co, a joint venture with China’s leading EV maker, BYD.

The two carmakers have already debuted a co-developed EV—the bZ3—in China. The controversial bZ4X (an EV that was recalled after wheels separated from the car) electric SUV and the electric sedan are both built on Toyota’s e-TNGA platform. BYD however, supplies its high profile Blade LFP batteries, electric motor, and control system.

According to one source, this system will likely be employed in Toyota’s upcoming EV concept, which is one of five new EVs launching in Europe by 2026. The new electric SUV will be Toyota’s cheapest EV and is expected to compete with the likes of the Volvo EX30, Jeep Avenger and Hyundai Kona electric.

By 2026, Toyota expects 20% of its sales to be all-electric in European sales, which would equate to over 250,000 vehicles annually. The carmaker says that its extra focus on EVs will help it toward complete carbon neutrality by 2040.

It’s great to see two of the world’s biggest car producers joining forces to create the next generation of EVs. However, it does seem a little strange that Toyota only recently unveiled a bunch of innovations, featuring a dedicated EV platform, next-generation batteries—developed with Panasonic, and manufacturing upgrades to streamline the production process, improve range and cut costs. The question begs—if Toyota has all of the necessary jigsaw puzzle pieces to make its own EVs, including the batteries thanks to Panasonic, why does it need to tie up with BYD?

And one more thing—as for U.S. sales, the verdict is still out as to whether we will see this Toyota—or its Chinese counterpart—ever make it to our shores.

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