Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Toyota’s EV parts factory in Hokkaido

ssun30

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From Japan Times

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/05/11/business/corporate-business/chinese-premier-li-keqiang-visits-toyotas-ev-parts-factory-hokkaido#.WvuqmoiFNPY

TOMAKOMAI, HOKKAIDO – Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Toyota Motor Corp.’s electric-vehicle parts factory in Hokkaido on Friday, as the government of the world’s second-biggest economy looks to promote eco-friendly EVs to curb air pollution.

Li was briefed by Toyota officials about the automaker’s e-Palette autonomous driving EV and a Mirai hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle at the factory in Tomakomai.

Accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Li was greeted at the plant by Toyota President Akio Toyoda.

After the visit, Toyoda told reporters, “Premier Li appears to have been interested in future technologies and showed strong interest with his actions and words.”

A Japanese government source said the Chinese representatives had requested the visit to the factory, at which Toyota produces major automobile parts such as continuously variable transmissions.

Xi Jinping, who was reappointed as China’s president for a second term in March, has promised to build a “Beautiful China” with blue skies and clean air by utilizing state-of-the-art eco-friendly technologies.

Li’s four-day trip to Japan through Friday is his first since becoming premier in 2013. The most recent previous official visit to Japan by a Chinese premier was the trip made by his predecessor Wen Jiabao in 2011.

Li attended a trilateral summit with Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and held bilateral talks with them on Wednesday, about two weeks after a landmark inter-Korean summit on April 27.

He also had an audience with Emperor Akihito at the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo on Thursday and flew to Hokkaido later in the day.
 

ssun30

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Why is this significant:
>>Toyota could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of warming of Sino-Japanese relationship. Their investment in local production reached record levels as they expand their production capacity form 1.1M to 1.4M in 2018, which will help them overtake Honda to become the third largest foreign brand. A drop in import tariff will help their premium division Lexus immensely. Their gamble to not make Lexus in China may pay off in the end.

>>The TMEC facility in Suzhou has become one of their key R&D centers for drivetrain technologies. Many recent engines and hybrid systems, such as the familiar 8NR-FTS, 6AR-FSE, A25A-FXS(hybrid) and M20A-FKS/FXS(hybrid) are certified and integrated at TMEC Suzhou. Shifting operations to this facility will help immensely with the burden of their overworked Japanese division, which was part of the reason engine development was lackluster in the past decade.

>>China covets their EV technology, in particular hybrids. As we know China is going to cancel subsidies on plug-ins in 2019 and BEVs in 2020. The government expects a sharp decline in investment and production. While local manufacturers are among the biggest makers of EVs, their technologies are rather primitive compared to foreign counterparts. Also, with the 'double-point' system set to be introduced next year, local manufacturers will suffer immensely from fuel efficiency penalties due to their inefficient ICE technologies.

Li's visit will certainly start a series of talks to let TMC help local manufacturers with hybrid drivetrain development in exchange for incentive packages. From an industry insider I know, chinese automakers are scrambling to develop hybrids because they know their EV programs will shrink considerably in the next three years. So far their cheapest option is licensing older generations of HSD (like Nissan and Ford did a few years ago). The Germans of course are pushing mild hybrids, but the cost is still prohibitive at this point. Therefore TMC and Honda will enjoy a head start.

>>Another key technolog Li wants access to is FCVs. Now that they've kickstarted the BEV industry, China is shifting funds to FCVs. This is a core part of China's energy policy, as the nation is shifting from coal to natural gas as the main energy source. Fracking in Xinjiang and expanded gas exploitation in South China Sea will see a considerable increase in natural gas supply for hydrogen production. Hydrogen fuel cell has been identified as a key strategic technology for the next 5-year plan. Therefore Li has a very good reason to start talks on FCV technology exchange with TMC.

TL;DR: TMC is in a very good position to be the leader in alternative energy vehicles in the 2020s. Tesla fanboys can keep mocking their stubborn and conservative approach to EVs, but the better-informed such as the leader of world's biggest EV market, know who's the real deal.
 
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Levi

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Tesla fanboys can keep mocking their stubborn and conservative approach to EVs, but the better-informed such as the leader of world's biggest EV market, know who's the real deal.
I still prefer Tesla fanboys than Tesla haters, also known as German Car fanboys. But that is not the point of the info you provided.



It is good news. It is also nice to see HFCVs come get back in the limelight. Because I do not know when BEVs can become intercontinental vehicles. It should be easier to have hydrogen fuel station in remote places, than charging stations. From a car design perspective, cars can look more normal too, it means there will be more diversity.
 
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