Toyota, Panasonic consider joint development of EV batteries

Isaac Cain
December 15, 2017

Japanese auto giant Toyota said Wednesday it wanted half of its global sales to come from electric-powered vehicles by 2030, as the industry strives to meet toughening environmental regulations.

"The auto industry faces many hurdles to developing next-generation batteries which are hard for automakers or battery makers to tackle on their own, " Toyota president Akio Toyoda said at a joint news conference. "It would be hard for us to meet our 2030 goals given the current pace of battery development".

Electric-powered vehicles now represent around 15 percent of the roughly 10 million units Toyota sells annually - mostly hybrids such as its best-selling Prius.

With the move, the companies aim to advance prismatic battery technology for automotive use.

The Japanese partners have not revealed how the batteries will be manufactured, but this is widely expected to be a collaborative effort as well. He added that vehicle companies could not tackle the issue of electrification all on their own and would need to look for help.

Collaboration will also bring technological benefits.

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Toyota and Panasonic have worked together since 1953. Panasonic has been handling "everything from development to production while strengthening ties with carmakers", President Kazuhiro Tsuga said.

"The key to electrifying vehicles in the future will be batteries".

The two companies already have JVs on the go. "That's why we're looking to Panasonic and other companies to help us develop ever-better cars and batteries".

Toyota earlier said it is considering making EV batteries with Panasonic to help meet its goal for green cars to comprise half of global sales by 2030.

Toyoda said the automaker's annual 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. Production delays at Tesla are weighing on Panasonic's earnings, highlighting the risk of relying too heavily on one major buyer.

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