Toyota, Daihatsu and Suzuki have agreed to jointly develop battery powered mini commercial vehicles through their membership of the Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation (CJPT).
Daihatsu and Suzuki joined the CJPT in June last year, several months after it was first established, to collaborate on development of new mini-commercial vehicles as part of their aim of achieving carbon neutrality.
Other members of the partnership include Hino Motors and Isuzu Motors which, along with Toyota, recently announced the joint development of a hydrogen fuel cell light truck and a hydrogen powered internal combustion engine (ICE) for heavy-duty trucks.
Toyota, Daihatsu and Suzuki said they planned to launch a new range of battery-powered mini commercial vehicles in fiscal year 2023/2024 which will be deployed initially in social implementation projects in Fukushima Prefecture and Tokyo.
Toyota said in a statement: “Mini commercial vehicles cover areas accessible only to them because of their small size and are important in supporting last mile logistics. They have become widespread, accounting for about 60% of the total commercial vehicle fleet, making them a type of vehicle capable of contributing significantly to the achievement of carbon neutrality if electrification advances.”
The company said key issues needed to be overcome, including higher vehicle cost as well as “costs related to charging infrastructure and charging time”.
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The partners aim to develop an affordable battery powered mini commercial van which “meets the usage needs of commercial customers by combining Suzuki and Daihatsu know how in manufacturing mini vehicles with Toyota electrification technology”.