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article imageToyota and Panasonic to build electric car batteries together

By Karen Graham     Jan 20, 2019 in Business
Toyota Motor Corp. and Panasonic Corp. are set to launch a joint venture in 2020 to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles in an effort to compete with Chinese rivals.
According to Reuters, the joint venture, which may be announced next week, would have Toyota Motor Corp owning 51 percent and 49 percent by Panasonic Corp.
As part of the venture, Panasonic plans on shifting five of its automotive battery production facilities in Japan and China to the new company. The U.S. plant it operates in a partnership with Tesla is not included in the deal, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
The new company could also provide batteries to Toyota’s EV technology partners Mazda Corp and Subaru Corp, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
This latest venture builds on a 2017 agreement between the two companies to develop batteries with higher energy density in a prismatic cell arrangement. They jointed invested in a Japanese company to develop batteries for hybrid vehicles. Toyota is expecting to sell one million electric and fuel cell vehicles by 2030.
Panasonic already makes prismatic batteries for Toyota, while it makes cylindrical batteries of a type similar to those used in laptops for Tesla at the Gigafactory in Nevada.
Next-generation batteries
Toyota and Panasonic also have plans to develop next-generation batteries — something that will require enormous cash outlays and a significant amount of technical expertise. Projects will include high-capacity solid-state lithium batteries.
High-capacity batteries are needed for improving the range of EVs, and they are also safer than what we have now. The two companies had already explored this project as part of their 2017 partnership. Toyota has made a reputable name for itself globally because of the fuel efficiency of its vehicles, but it has lagged behind China and Volkswagen on EV production.
It's the EV batteries that are the biggest hurdle in Toyota achieving its production goals for the future, and this is one reason for the partnership with Panasonic. And for Panasonic, this is also a good investment that will lead to savings on investment costs and a broader customer network.
More about Electric car batteries, Joint venture, Toyota, Panasonic, Business
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