Blog: Is this Toyota China's Nissan Leaf rival?
Graeme Roberts | 23 October 2015
News just in from China suggests a Toyota joint venture there - via a new China-only brand - is readying what might be a decent five door hatchback rival for Nissan's well-entrenched Leaf EV.
China Car Times said the Guangzhou-Toyota Leahead i1 EV would be launched early in 2016 after making its debut as a concept at the Shanghai show in April.
According to CCT, Leahead is a new sub-brand under the Guangzhou-Toyota joint venture focused on making cheap electric cars for the masses and should not be confused with Ranz, another Chinese Toyota brand.
Busily launching its fuel cell Mirai and the redesigned Prius hybrid at the moment, Toyota has been a bit quiet on the pre EV front and has only, so far, offered one model, effectively an EV version of the now defunct Toyota/Scion iQ.
After a 28m unit market and 14% growth in 2016, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) has said it expects the vehicle market to slow to 5% growth in 2017....
Panasonic reportedly wants to extend its partnership with Tesla Motors beyond batteries and into self-driving technology, as the Japanese supplier focuses more on the automotive business....
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....
Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...