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Autoworld » Cars Share

Toyota to form electric car technology venture with Mazda

Toyota to form electric car technology venture with Mazda

By Naomi Tajitsu and Maki Shiraki

TOKYO, Sept 28 (Reuters) Toyota Motor Corp is establishing a new venture to develop electric vehicle technology with partner Mazda Motor Corp, seeking to catch up with rivals in an increasingly frenetic race to produce more battery-powered cars. 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 Corp, 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 popularisation 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. Shares in Mazda were up 3 percent after the announcement, while those in Denso were up 1.5 percent. Toyota shares were flat. REUTERS SV 1108

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