Toyota to Launch Self-Driving EV in China Following Tesla Lead

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Toyota, in collaboration with Guangzhou Automobile Group, plans to launch a self-driving electric vehicle in China by 2025. This move follows Tesla’s recent approval to introduce its Full Self-Driving system in the country. Learn about Toyota’s Bozhi 3X SUV, upcoming battery innovations, and the competitive landscape in the autonomous EV market.

Toyota to Launch Self-Driving EV in China Following Tesla's Lead
Toyota to Launch Self-Driving EV in China Following Tesla’s Lead

Toyota Follows Tesla With Plans To Launch Self-Driving EV in China

In a significant move that underscores the accelerating pace of innovation in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, Toyota Motor Corporation, in partnership with its Chinese state-owned joint venture (JV) partner Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), is set to release an autonomous electric vehicle (EV) in China in 2025. This development follows closely on the heels of Tesla, which recently secured tentative approval to introduce its Full Self-Driving (FSD) system in the Chinese market.

Key Takeaways

  • Toyota and GAC Partnership: Toyota and its JV partner GAC are preparing to launch an EV equipped with advanced autonomous driving capabilities in China by 2025.
  • Tesla’s Recent Approval: Tesla received tentative approval to introduce its FSD system in China, potentially launching later this year.
  • Toyota’s Bozhi 3X SUV: The first model from GAC Toyota to feature the advanced self-driving system will be the Bozhi 3X SUV.
  • Battery Innovations: GAC Toyota also plans to introduce an iron phosphate lithium battery by 2026-2027, aiming to reduce the production cost of its bZ4X EV by 40%.

Toyota’s Strategic Moves in China

Toyota’s foray into the autonomous driving segment in China is marked by its collaboration with GAC. The joint venture’s first model to feature this advanced technology is the Bozhi 3X SUV. This vehicle will be equipped with a sophisticated self-driving system capable of navigating highways, city streets, and handling parking autonomously. The system is being developed in collaboration with Momenta Global, a company known for its work on autonomous driving software, including projects with Mercedes-Benz.

The introduction of the Bozhi 3X SUV is part of Toyota’s broader strategy to compete in the rapidly evolving EV market in China, the world’s largest automotive market. By integrating advanced self-driving capabilities, Toyota aims to position itself as a leader in innovation and technology.

Tesla’s Influence and Competitive Landscape

Tesla’s advancements in autonomous driving have set a benchmark in the industry. The company’s FSD system, though still requiring driver supervision, represents a significant leap in automotive technology. Tesla’s ability to monetize its FSD system through a subscription model in the U.S. has provided a substantial revenue stream, and its expansion into China is expected to bolster its financial performance.

However, Tesla’s FSD system has not been without controversy. U.S. regulators have opened investigations into the software following several accidents involving Tesla vehicles. These incidents highlight the ongoing challenges and scrutiny faced by automakers as they develop and deploy autonomous driving technologies.

Toyota’s Battery Innovations

In addition to its plans for autonomous driving, GAC Toyota has announced the development of an iron phosphate lithium battery, slated for release between 2026 and 2027. This battery technology is expected to significantly reduce the production cost of Toyota’s bZ4X EV by 40%. Lowering production costs is crucial for making EVs more affordable and accessible to a broader range of consumers, thereby driving higher adoption rates.

Market Reactions and Financial Performance

The stock market has reacted to these developments with cautious optimism. Toyota shares saw a modest increase of 0.5%, closing at $204.97, and have gained nearly 12% since the beginning of the year. In contrast, Tesla shares have been relatively stable, closing at $197.88, but have experienced a decline of over 20% since the start of 2024.

The Road Ahead

The introduction of autonomous driving technologies by major automotive players like Toyota and Tesla marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of the EV industry. These advancements are not only reshaping the competitive landscape but also driving the future of mobility towards greater automation and efficiency.

For Toyota, the successful launch of its autonomous EV in China will depend on several factors, including regulatory approvals, technological advancements, and consumer acceptance. The collaboration with GAC and Momenta Global is expected to play a crucial role in navigating these challenges and achieving its strategic objectives.

Similarly, Tesla’s expansion into China with its FSD system will be closely watched by industry analysts and stakeholders. The ability to operate in China, given its stringent regulatory environment, will be a testament to the robustness and reliability of Tesla’s autonomous driving technology.

Implications for the EV Industry

The developments by Toyota and Tesla are indicative of broader trends within the EV industry. As automakers increasingly invest in autonomous driving technologies, the industry is likely to see a surge in innovation, partnerships, and regulatory engagement. These efforts will be critical in addressing the technical, safety, and ethical challenges associated with autonomous driving.

Moreover, the focus on reducing production costs through battery innovations highlights the importance of making EVs more affordable. This approach is essential for achieving mass-market adoption and realizing the environmental benefits of transitioning to electric mobility.


Toyota’s plan to launch a self-driving EV in China, following Tesla’s footsteps, signifies a new era in the automotive industry. The strategic moves by these industry giants are setting the stage for a future where autonomous driving and electric mobility are integral parts of everyday life.

As the competition intensifies, the success of these initiatives will hinge on technological advancements, regulatory compliance, and market acceptance. For consumers, these developments promise enhanced driving experiences, improved safety, and greater convenience. For the industry, they represent a step forward in the quest for innovation and sustainability.

The coming years will be crucial in determining the trajectory of autonomous driving and the role of EVs in our transportation ecosystem. With major players like Toyota and Tesla leading the charge, the future of mobility looks promising, exciting, and transformative.

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