Toyota, Mazda Team Up for Electric Car Tech

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Sept. 28, 2017—Toyota is establishing a new venture to develop electric vehicle technology with Mazda, seeking to catch up with rivals in a race to produce more battery-powered cars, Fortune reports.

2016 was a year where 159,000 new EVs hit the road, and sales were up 38 percent over 2015’s numbers. Craig Van Batenburg, founder of the Automotive Career Development Center, said your shop can expect models from certain automakers that are leading that pack, such as Tesla, Chevrolet, Nissan, Ford and Toyota.

Policymakers in key markets like China are aggressively pushing a shift to electric cars over the next two to three decades, pressuring traditional automakers to crank up their electric vehicle (EV) plans—just as declining battery costs enable more power to be packed into cars.

Toyota said in a statement the new company will develop technology for a range of electric cars, including minivehicles, passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks.

Toyota will take a 90 percent stake in the joint venture, called EV Common Architecture Spirit Co Ltd, while Mazda and Denso, Toyota's biggest supplier, will each take a 5 percent stake.

The plans build on a partnership announced in August when Japan's biggest automaker agreed to take a 5 percent stake in Mazda and two said they would jointly develop affordable electric vehicle technologies.

After years of focusing on bringing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to the market, Toyota last year set up a division to develop electric cars which is led by President Akio Toyoda, and said it plans to introduce EVs in China in the coming years.

Neither Toyota nor Mazda market fully electric passenger cars at the moment. Toyota has cited affordability and the limited range of battery-operated cars as obstacles to the mass popularization so far.

Mazda has an R&D budget a fraction of Toyota's, which has made it difficult to develop electric cars on its own. Even so, it has said it plans to launch EVs in 2020.

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