Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Toyota and Panasonic eye joint development of new EV batteries

Toyota Motor Corp President Akio Toyoda and Panasonic Corp President Kazuhiro Tsuga attend a joint news conference in Tokyo Japan Toyota Motor Corp President Toyoda and Panasonic Corp President Tsuga attend a joint news conference in Tokyo Thomson Reuters
Theresa Hayes | 14 December, 2017, 03:50

Shares in Panasonic climbed on Wednesday ahead of a press conference at which the Japanese electronics company announced a tie-in with carmaker Toyota about batteries used in its electric vehicles.

The joint announcement on Wednesday builds on an existing agreement under which Panasonic - a global market leader for automotive lithium-ion batteries - makes batteries for Toyota's petrol-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Toyota and Panasonic are looking at renewing their longstanding partnership to develop more efficient batteries at lower cost, which will make electric and hybrid cars that much more affordable and attractive for consumers. "In order for Japan to survive this era of profound change with no natural resources, we must develop competitive batteries and establish systems for a stable supply", Toyoda said.

"It would be hard for us to meet our 2030 goals offered the current pace of battery advancement". Toyota and Panasonic already make batteries for the automaker's gasoline-electric hybrids through a joint venture, Primearth EV Energy.

Panasonic already has a major partnership with Tesla to jointly manufacture a competing battery technology that relies on different batteries relying on cylindrical cells.

The deal places Panasonic in the unusual position of straddling the technological and strategic divide between Toyota and Tesla.

The Panasonic deal reflects the Japanese automaker's bid to continue accelerating its electric-car ambitions.

Toyota's battery needs are likely to increase after it said past year it would add fully electric vehicles to its product line-up in the early 2020s, expanding a green-car strategy which has focused on plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles (FCV).

Toyoda stated the automaker's yearly sales target for petrol-electric and plug-in hybrids is 4.5 million vehicles by 2030, and 1.0 million units for EVs and FCVs.

Panasonic has invested heavily in its automotive division and now considers the production of lithium-ion batteries as one of its key businesses.