Japanese automakers collaborating to lead an ‘all-inclusive’ electrification in the country - Just Auto
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Japanese automakers collaborating to lead an ‘all-inclusive’ electrification in the country

02 Aug 2021

Japanese companies are accelerating cooperative efforts aimed at hitting lower national carbon targets, writes Bakar Sadik Agwan.

Japanese automakers collaborating to lead an ‘all-inclusive’ electrification in the country
Akio Toyoda, President and Representative Director, Toyota Motor Corporation / Soichiro Okudaira, President, Daihatsu Motor Co., Ltd. / Toshihiro Suzuki, Representative Director and President, Suzuki Motor Corporation / Hiroki Nakajima, President, Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation

With the Japanese government eyeing to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050, key automakers in the country now have the impetus to begin their transition towards electric vehicles (EVs). Japanese OEMs have lagged competitors in other regions in the  transition to EVs. This is despite many investing in research and development around the tech, but they put it on the back burner, waiting for the right time, while others did not develop the required EV expertise that matches with the current market dynamics. However, given the governmental targets, and increasing intrusion of technology giants in EV manufacturing  and  supply,  Japanese  OEMs  have  been  quite  active  recently  in  partnering/collaborating  with  various stakeholders for developing EVs, connected cars and related technologies.

Suzuki  and  Daihatsu  joining  the  Commercial  Japan  Partnership  (CJP)  –  commercial  vehicle  partnership  in  Japan  between Toyota  Motor  Corporation,  Isuzu  Motors  Ltd.  and  Hino  Motors  Ltd.  for  developing  BEVs,  FCEVs,  autonomous,  connected technologies and EV platform, adds a broader perspective to the partnership with inclusion of mini-vehicles or ‘Kei Cars’ in the scope from the earlier ‘commercial vehicle only’ focus.

While CJP is Japan-focused, the respective OEMs already have some global partnerships related to electric and autonomous vehicles. Suzuki and Toyota have a global partnership for passenger vehicles. Toyota also has a joint venture in China with FAW, Dongfeng Motor, Guangzhou Automobile Group, Beijing Automotive Group and Beijing SinoHytec for FCEVs.  Isuzu has a  global  partnership  with  Volvo,  and  Hino  has  partnered  with  BYD  in  China  and  TRATON  in  Europe  and  Asia -Pacific.  The ‘Japan-focus’ is expected to scale up the battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) development in the country which for years have been overpowered by hybrid vehicles in passenger cars and is at a nascent stage in commercial vehicles.

CJP partnership aims to combine Toyota’s connected, autonomous and electric technologies with the commercial vehicle capabilities of Isuzu and Hino to accelerate EV adoption in the commercial applications and develop a commercial vehicle focused  connected  platform.  The  scope  includes  all  commercial  vehicles  ranging  from  mini-CVs  to  heavy  trucks.  Further, Suzuki and Daihatsu are among the top Kei Cars manufacturers in Japan which holds a major share in new sales as well as vehicle  parc.  Electrification  of  these  low-cost  and  high-sales  microcars  makes  complete  strategic  sense  and  will  result  in faster  adoption  of  BEVs.  Further,  the  collective  efforts  around  electric  and  connected  tech  for  commercial  vehicles  will ensure  all-inclusive  electrification  in  the  automotive  industry  and  support  Japanese  OEMs  to  meet  government  carbon neutrality goals and create desired societal impact.

Suzuki and Daihatsu combine for CASE in Mini-CVs