Toyota will be launching plug-in hybrid versions of the Corolla and Levin models in the Chinese market in 2018, according to recent reports.
As it stands, conventional hybrid versions of the Corolla and Levin are both available, but plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of the high-selling models have yet to hit the market. 2018 means that the wait will still be at least a year and a half longer.
The company will be utilizing substantial local development and manufacturing capacity for the launch in the Chinese market. The Toyota press release provides more on that, along with some background:
In 2005, based on long-term plans to encourage the widespread use of environmentally-friendly vehicles in the country, Toyota selected China as the first location for production of its hybrid flagship, the Prius, outside of Japan.
Later, the establishment of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing (China) Co., Ltd. in 2010 created a hub for localized research and development of hybrid technologies. Following this major commitment, Toyota established two local manufacturers of hybrid powertrain components, Toyota Motor (Changshu) Auto Parts Co., Ltd. and Sinogy Toyota Automotive Energy System Co., Ltd., in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
These efforts culminated in last year’s launch of the Corolla Hybrid and Levin Hybrid―both of which feature locally developed hybrid units―in the Chinese market. Cumulative total orders for both vehicles now stand at approximately 40,000 units. To continue promoting the widespread use of alternative energy vehicles in the future, Toyota is also proceeding with localization of plug-in hybrid vehicle development ahead of the launch of plug-in versions of these two models in 2018.
Considering the really uninspiring all-electric range on offer with regard to the company’s Prius PHEV, I’ll say here that I’m not holding out much hope that the PHEV versions of the Corolla and Levin will have much to offer either. We’ll have to wait to see though….