Panasonic and Toyota start battery electric car joint venture

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Toyota and Panasonic have confirmed that they are establishing a joint venture for the production and sale of battery cells for electric vehicles. Nikkei recently announced that the two companies will collaborate on battery production.

Toyota reports that the two manufacturers have formed a joint venture to produce prismatic batteries for the automotive sector. Earlier, the two companies already started a feasibility study to see if they could jointly make prismatic batteries. The new company wants to ensure a stable supply of ‘competitive batteries’ to all kinds of car manufacturers.

The joint venture should be ready by the end of 2020, with Toyota acquiring 51 percent of the shares and Panasonic the remaining 49 percent. The new company focuses not only on prismatic lithium-ion batteries, but also on solid-state batteries and ‘next generation batteries’. The new joint venture will conduct research, develop and manufacture the batteries.

The two Japanese manufacturers will jointly transfer a total of 3,500 employees to the joint venture. There, Toyota mainly takes on the tasks in the field of knowledge transfer, the development and production of battery cells. Panasonic focuses on transferring the necessary equipment and manufacturing, which will take place in factories in Japan and China.

Toyota still talks about ‘electrified vehicles’, which means that the batteries to be produced will not only be intended for fully electrically powered cars. Panasonic and Toyota state that they want to become the global leader in battery development; To this end, the two companies will work closely together, including knowledge sharing and coordination in vehicle production planning.

Compared to cylindrical cells, prismatic variants are flatter and lighter, and have an aluminum housing. These types of batteries can be found in smartphones, among other things. Disadvantages of these types of batteries are the relatively higher production costs and the fact that they can overheat sooner.

Panasonic and Toyota have been working together for some time in the field of batteries. For example, the batteries in the current Toyota Prius come from Panasonic. The lion’s share of the batteries that Panasonic produces are still going to Tesla, which are cylindrical battery cells.

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