Toyota Motor Corporation and Subaru Corporation recently announced a new initiative to co-develop the next generation of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), starting with mid-size SUVs. The current automotive landscape bears little resemblance to its former, conventional, oil-burning field of view. Automakers across the board have been preoccupied with developing new strategies to combat the ever-rising laws and regulations of the industry, while at the same time, setting their sights firmly on a more electrified future.
Toyota and Subaru embarked on their first strategic collaboration back in 2005, when the two companies cooperated in fields of development, production and sales. It proved to be a profitable partnership, leading first to the launch of the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ sport coupes in 2012. Meanwhile, Subaru benefitted from Toyota’s expertise on hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) technology, which eventually led to the launch of the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid. Now, the two Japanese auto industry heavyweights are once again setting themselves up for victory, though this time, the golden nugget will be BEVs.
The future of Battery Electric Vehicles from Toyota will see the launch of electric scooters and full-size BEV SUVs
“Both Subaru and Toyota believe that it is necessary to pursue a business model that goes beyond convention, crossing over industrial boundaries together with various types of other entities that share their aspirations," joint statement released by Toyota and Subaru.
The new initiative will once again witness the two carmakers indulging in technology sharing and expertise in product development. Toyota will take charge on the electrification side of the partnership, while Subaru’s trump card will be its in-depth prowess of developing and producing some of the best all-wheel-drive platforms on the market. One of the first products to be released from this new joint project will be a pair of mid-size SUVs – one for each brand. In a world that is accepting SUVs with arms wide open, the brands’ new BEV platform-based models will boost Toyota and Subaru’s standing in the segment by several folds. Toyota has named its new BEV platform “e-TNGA”, which will essentially be an electric-only variant of the popular Toyota New Generation Architecture (TNGA).
In a statement released by Toyota and Subaru, the brands said that, “The automotive industry is in the midst of a once-in-a-century period of profound transformation. Starting with responses to the new CASE domains of car connectivity, autonomous or assisted driving, new mobility or car-sharing, and electrified powertrains and components, both Subaru and Toyota are required to conduct technological development with a sense of speed across a broader-than-ever spectrum of initiatives. Building on their collaborative ties thus far deepened, the agreement announced today represents a new area of collaboration that especially focuses on the urgent need to respond to CASE’s “E” domain, or electrified powertrains and components.”
The future of Battery Electric Vehicles from Toyota will see the launch of electric scooters and full-size BEV SUVs. A few of these products will be available in some markets as early as 2020.
Talking further about the new e-TNGA platform itself, the statement read, “Both Subaru and Toyota believe that it is necessary to pursue a business model that goes beyond convention, crossing over industrial boundaries together with various types of other entities that share their aspirations.” And as such, “The two companies will jointly develop a BEV-dedicated platform, which will be developed in a way that will make it broadly applicable to multiple vehicle types, including C-segment-class and D-segment-class sedans and SUVs, as well as to efficient development of derivative vehicle models.”
As the announcement of the Subaru and Toyota joint initiative becomes official, the latter has already hinted at the possibility of Suzuki and Mazda joining the team as well. If that were to materialise, the newly-formed coalition will reap huge benefits from the sharing of technologies and common platforms, plus the leverage gained off of the combined sales from each marque in the coalition will be huge – estimated at an impressive 16 million units per year.
The future of Battery Electric Vehicles from Toyota will see the launch of electric scooters and full-size BEV SUVs. A few of these products will be available in some markets as early as 2020. Toyota plans to sell up to one million BEVs and FCVs (fuel-cell vehicles) by 2025, plus another 4.5 million Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid vehicles over the same period.