Toyota mulling battery production for EVs with Panasonic

Panasonic shares rise on news of Toyota battery partnership

Toyota and Panasonic announced on Wednesday their intention to study the feasibility of a battery joint venture.

"It would be hard for us to meet our 2030 goals given the current pace of battery development", Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at the announcement. For the Japanese automaker to meet its goal of green vehicle sales comprising half of global sales by 2030, however, increased collaboration between the two companies may be necessary.

The plan to co-operate more closely on batteries comes as automakers compete to develop more EVs in compliance with tightening regulations worldwide to reduce vehicle emissions.

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.

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But Toyota, which has previously focused on hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells, is having to play catch-up on pure EVs. "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.

Both companies will consider details of the collaboration with the aim of achieving the best automotive prismatic battery in the industry and, ultimately, contributing to the popularization of Toyota's and other automakers' electrified vehicles.

According to Akio Toyoda, Toyota is now targeting annual sales figures of 4.5 million for petrol-electric and plug-in hybrids by 2030, and 1 million for EVs and FCVs by 2030.

In Panasonic, Toyota is partnering with the main battery supplier of major U.S. EV maker Tesla. An advantage is that they can be made smaller and lighter than cylindrical battery packs but generally cost more and can overheat and swell.

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