Toyota Motor, once cool to battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), has made another important EV (electric vehicle) move.

BYD, the China-based EV world leader, has struck an agreement with Toyota to establish a joint research and development company for BEVs.

“We aim to combine BYD’s strengths in development and competitiveness in the battery electric vehicle market with Toyota’s quality and safety technology to provide the best BEV products for the market demand and consumer affection as early as we can,” says BYD senior vice president Lian Yu-bo said, according to

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet is a BYD fan.

This partnership shows how serious Toyota is about giving a jolt to its electrification efforts. Toyota has said it plans to have an electrified version of every Toyota and Lexus model by 2025.

According to industry intelligence expert IIHS, BYD and Tesla are the world leaders in new registrations of pure battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids combined, each with 12 per cent of global share. What separates BYD from Tesla is scope.

According to Bloomberg, BYD employs 250,000 workers and sells as many as 30,000 pure EVs or plug-in hybrids in China every month. Its cheapest model is the e1 which starts at 60,000 or about $11,320 after subsidies.

BYD has expertise that Toyota wants and needs, and vice versa. Then there’s Toyota’s huge pile of cash – nearly $58 billion (US), according to Macrotrends.

Toyota is racing to catch up in EVs.

David Leggett of GlobalData says that by 2030, annual production of BEVs in China will approach 6.0 million vehicles a year.

China-based BYD is an electric battery technology specialist with very good knowledge of the Chinese marketplace and needs, while Toyota is a global original equipment manufacturer (OEM) with proven strengths in vehicle development and can bring its systems to bear in areas such as manufacturing, quality and safety,” says Leggett.

So a tidy partnership.

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