Toyota C-HR Electric launched in China with 400 km range [Update]

Toyota launched the C-HR EV, its first mass-produced pure electric model, in China through the GAC-Toyota joint venture on Earth Day in April. The C-HR EV went on sale in five variants and priced between RMB 225,800 (Rs 24.36 lakh) and RMB 249,800 (Rs 26.95 lakh) after government subsidies.

In May, FAW-Toyota joint venture launched the ‘other’ Toyota C-HR electric version in the Chinese market in three variants priced between RMB 225,800 to RMB 253,800. Models from both joint ventures have an identical specification.

Nikkei reported in October that Toyota sold less than 2000 units in the first eight months of the year implying that the C-HR EV is off to a slow start in the world’s biggest electric vehicle market. Toyota has cornered about 6 per cent market share in China and sold 1.62 million vehicles last year. It hoped to lift sales with the launch of the C-HR electric vehicle which hasn’t gone as per script.

Toyota C-HR Electric Vehicle

Based on the Toyota New Global Architecture platform, the C-HR EV has a centre of gravity lower by 14 per cent than the regular C-HR, as the battery pack is mounted under the body as part of the frame and has 20 per cent more torsional rigidity. Toyota says it has adjusted the suspension to improve the handling and ride comfort over the fuel version.

Powered by a 54.3 kWh battery pack, the C-HR EV can return a range of up to 400 km on a single charge in the NEDC metric. The motor produces 150 kW (201 hp) & 300 Nm of torque. The battery is waterproof, dustproof and also has an anti-rust coating on the bottom. To ensure the safety and performance of the battery cells and the high-voltage circuit, the battery pack is covered with cold air pipes to form a buffer zone.

There are a few visual difference between the pure electric version and the fuel version. The face uses a split grille design and the fog lamp area on both sides of the electric car is more ‘aggressive’ than the fuel version. The deletion the exhaust tip is perhaps the most significant exterior change and a symbolic one as well for the hybrid car advocate and the exterior is complete with new 17-inch alloy wheels. The noticeable change to the interior is the full-LCD 4.2-inch instrument cluster, the replacement of the conventional drive selector with an electric drive selector, while the top-spec models are equipped with a 10-way power adjustment driver seat.

The C-HR Electric comes with the Toyota Safety Sense package which gives it PCS (pre-collision safety system), DRCC (dynamic radar cruise control system), LTA (lane tracking assist system) and AHB (automatic adjustment for the high beam).

The first mass-produced Toyota electric car competes with the Hyundai Kona, Dongfeng-Honda X-NV & GAC-Honda VE-1 (Honda HR-V based electric vehicles) and the Peugeot e2008.

Toyota C-HR Electric SpecificationsFigures
Length4405 mm
Width1795 mm
Height1575 mm
Weight2220 kg
Battery Capacity54.3 kWh
Power150 kW (201 hp)
Torque300 Nm
Range400 km
Top Speed160 km/h
Price (Chinese Market)RMB 225,800 plus

Toyota C-HR & Toyota Izoa lead the EV charge at Toyota

The battery-powered C-HR will be reserved for China where the customer demand and government support for electric cars is solid. The Toyota C-HR and the Toyota Izoa EVs will be introduced in the market, one model from the GAC-Toyota joint venture and the other from the FAW-Toyota joint venture.

Toyota C-HR electric and Toyota Izoa electric

The GAC-Toyota C-HR comes a year after it showcased the final-spec version at the Shanghai Auto Show 2019. Beginning with the Chinese debut of the electrified C-HR and IZOA, Toyota expects to bring out more than ten BEV models worldwide by 2025, with a sales target of 5.5+ million electrified vehicles globally by 2025. Toyota is investing significant amounts to prepare production lines for electric vehicles from both Chinese joint ventures.

Images of the production-spec Toyota C-HR electric were released by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology late last year (and subsequently appeared on Chinese auto portals) that revealed the model up close. One can instantly spot the unique closed front-end, drawn-out pockets on the bumpers, the lack of an exhaust tip, and the blue-tinged badges that visually set apart the electric car.

Toyota C-HR electric from China rear
The obvious changes on the EV are new bumpers, wheels, blue-tinged Toyota emblem, ‘Electric’ badge and the deletion of the exhaust tip. Image from the Chinese IT Ministry.

Chinese media abuzz with reports on two upcoming Toyota electric cars

Another update that has been reported in the Chinese web this year is that Toyota China is looking to add two electric SUVs and an electric MPV to production at the new lines in Guangzhou that will be completed in 2022. Some websites are of the opinion that these maybe ‘electrified’ vehicles meaning they are hybrid and not necessarily pure-electric cars. We’re keeping an eye for further developments on these models as the C-HR EV is the beginning of a long journey for Toyota.

Toyota confirmed this month that it will launch its first battery electric SUV next year in the European market. Designed to mirror the Toyota RAV4 at the tape, the electric SUV rides on the e-TNGA platform that will see the birth of half a dozen electric cars from the brand in the early part of the decade in the global market.

Toyota Electric Car for India would be a smaller & simpler solution

Prototypes of the Toyota C-HR Hybrid were spotted running test plates in Bengaluru first in 2018 fueling reports of the global crossover’s Indian launch. Toyota is understood to have shelved plans to introduce the C-HR in India due to the high manufacturing cost of the vehicle. The company will instead share models and platforms with Maruti Suzuki and may not bring down the costly TNGA on which the C-HR is based. Toyota Kirloskar Motor does not clarify on the introduction of the C-HR, and these observations are made from what reliable Indian media outlets have reported as well as what industry sources inform us.

It is also to be noted that the first generation C-HR has a sloping roof design that restricts headroom, a factor that would not go down well with the Indian consumers who love rear seat comfort. The test prototype, it was then heard, is registered to a German parts supplier that runs a Bengaluru office, and was shipped to analyse component performance in the real world.

Side view mirror
Toyota India is readying its first electric car on the Maruti Suzuki Heartect platform (a version of the new Wagon R) and is unlikely to bring down global EVs in the foreseeable future due to cost and manufacturing complexities.

The likelihoods of Toyota introducing the C-HR electric in India are slim as the company is developing EVs on the well-localized Maruti Suzuki Heartect platform that serves the mass market segment.

Display image captured from the official FAW-Toyota website.