With Japan eyeing to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2050, key automakers in the country now have the impetus to begin their transition towards electric vehicles (EVs). 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 and related technologies across all vehicle segments including minicars, passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Japanese OEMs have lagged the competitors in other regions in terms of transition towards EVs. Though some invested in research and development but kept it low-key while others did not even develop the required EV expertise that matches with the current market dynamics.
The Commercial Japan Partnership (CJP) - a commercial vehicle partnership in Japan between Toyota Motor Corporation, Isuzu Motors Ltd. and Hino Motors Ltd. aims at developing BEVs, FCEVs, autonomous, connected technologies and EV platform for commercial vehicles. Suzuki and Daihatsu joining the CJP adds a broader perspective to the partnership with the inclusion of mini-vehicles or 'Kei Cars' in the scope from the earlier 'commercial vehicle only' focus.
Bakar Sadik Agwan, Senior Automotive Analyst at GlobalData, comments: 'While CJP is Japan-focused, the respective OEMs already have similar partnerships globally, 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 (APAC). The 'Japan-focus' is expected to scale up the battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) development in the country which had been overpowered by hybrid vehicles in passenger cars for years and is at a nascent stage in commercial vehicles.'
CJP partnership aims to combine Toyota's connected, autonomous and electric technologies with the commercial vehicles' capabilities of Isuzu and Hino to accelerate EV adoption in 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.
Mr Agwan concludes: 'Electrification of these low-cost and high-sales microcars makes a complete strategic sense and will result in faster adoption of BEVs. Further, the collective efforts around electric and connected technology 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.'