In another sign that Toyota is ramping up its battery electric vehicle (BEV) plans, the company has announced an agreement with BYD to jointly develop BEVs aimed at the Chinese market.

The two companies have signed an agreement to jointly develop sedans and low-floor SUVs as well as the onboard batteries for these vehicles and others with the aim to launch them in the Chinese market under the Toyota brand in the first half of the 2020s.

BYD was founded in 1995 as a battery business and has grown into a 'total energy solution company', manufacturing not only electrified vehicles but other products such as large-size energy storage cells. The company name BYD stands for "Build Your Dreams" and core parts for electrified vehicles such as batteries, motors and power electronics are among the products that BYD develops in-house. In 2008, BYD became the first company in the world to sell mass production of plug-in hybrid electrified vehicles (PHEVs). Since 2015 onwards, BYD's sales of BEVs and PHEVs have been ranked first in the world for four consecutive years.

In a statement, Toyota said that to curb global warming, both BYD and Toyota seek to reduce CO2 emissions by promoting the widespread use of BEVs. 'To accomplish these goals, both companies believe there is a need to put aside their rivalry and collaborate; therefore, the two companies have agreed to jointly develop BEVs.'

Although Toyota is acknowledged as a leader in hybrids, it lags in BEVs and is now planning to accelerate BEV new product development and has announced a number of strategic partnerships and supply agreements. Earlier this week it said that CATL will supply it with drive batteries for electric vehicles in the key Chinese marketplace. Toyota aims to switch around 50% of its global sales to electrified powertrain vehicles by 2025, or some 5.5m vehicles based on the company's forecast global production for that year.

Toyota is also working with Subaru to jointly develop a platform dedicated to battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for midsize and large passenger vehicles and to jointly develop a C-segment-class BEV SUV model for sale under each company's own brand.

See also: CATL to supply Toyota with EV batteries

Toyota and Subaru to jointly develop EVs and electric SUVs