Toyota and Subaru have announced plans to jointly develop a new a battery electric vehicle platform for midsize and large passenger vehicles.
In addition, the two Japanese automakers will work together on a new electric crossover model that will be sold as both a Toyota and a Subaru. This isn’t the first time the two companies have joined forces to develop a car — the two worked on a successful rear-wheel-drive sports car program that resulted in the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ.
“By combining their respective strengths, such as the all-wheel-drive technologies that Subaru has cultivated over many years and the vehicle electrification technologies that Toyota is employing to bring together other companies that share its aspirations, the two companies intend to take up the challenge of creating attractive products with appeal that only BEVs can offer,” the companies said in a joint statement.
The Toyota-Subaru tie-up is more evidence of the changing automotive landscape. Rising development costs driven by advanced technologies like BEVs and semi-autonomous tech has forced automakers to put their heads together on certain projects. Just this week, Jaguar and BMW announced they would jointly develop a new premium electric vehicle platform in order to save costs.
There’s another key reason automakers want to team up on EVs. Electric vehicle batteries require large amounts of raw lithium and other rare earth materials, making it easy for demand to outpace supply. By entering a partnership on EVs, allocating batteries becomes less of a hassle.
“The commercialization of BEVs requires the use of large-capacity batteries, and, along with the popularization of BEVs, demands of a new dimension will be placed on battery supply,” the automakers said. “Both Subaru and Toyota believe that it is necessary to pursue a business model that goes beyond convention, crossing over industrial boundaries together with various types of other entities that share their aspirations. ”
Toyota and Subaru have held various partnerships with one another since 2005. Toyota is also the largest single stakeholder in Subaru, with a 16.77% share in the company.