Toyota and Panasonic to form EV battery joint venture

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Carmaker Toyota and battery giant Panasonic will enter a joint venture and business integration partnership. According to an announcement by the two corporations, a JV company will be formed by the end of next year, pending approval from competition authorities in the relevant regions.

The scope of the operation will reportedly be research and development, production engineering, manufacturing and procurement and the receipt of orders for automotive prismatic lithium-ion, solid-sate and next-generation batteries. The partner companies will move equipment and 3,500 personnel to plants in Japan and China, according to Toyota.

The corporations will seek to fuse their strengths in battery and automotive technologies to become a market leader in battery development, and will coordinate efforts from vehicle planning and conception stages as well as sharing production and engineering resources.

“Uniting with Toyota’s battery and production-engineering technologies provides us an excellent opportunity for being able to evolve our automotive prismatic batteries – which have an established track record of performance and safety – faster than ever,” said Panasonic senior managing executive officer Masahisa Shibata. “Through the electrification of vehicles, we want to accelerate our contribution to the realization of a society of mobility that is kind to the environment.”

EV sales on the rise

Toyota is pursuing an e-mobility agenda and in 2017 announced a goal of selling more than 5.5 million EVs per year. BloombergNEF reported in August that global cumulative EV sales hit the 4 million mark and are expected to climb steeply, with five million likely to have been sold by the end of March. The analysts said China’s introduction at the beginning of this year of a ‘NEV’ quota requiring carmakers to achieve 10% of sales from new energy vehicles, would fire sales numbers.

For Panasonic, the move could help diversify its business. The company supplies battery technology to Tesla and by teaming up with one of the world’s largest automotive companies’, sales numbers for its EV batteries could benefit.