Two Japanese giants consider to join forces to develop and produce EV batteries together. A joint announcement has already been made and reenforces an existing arrangement.
With Toyota pushing for half its global sales to be green cars by 2030 it has to ramp up battery development and ultimately production. So the company turns to Panasonic to build on an existing agreement and to develop better batteries faster.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at a joint news conference, that “it would be difficult for us to meet our 2030 goals given the current pace of battery development. That’s why we’re looking to Panasonic and other companies to help us develop ever-better cars and batteries.”
“Better” means with higher energy density and Toyota and Panasonic are looking into expanding the development of prismatic – flat, pouch-shaped – batteries to that end.
The alliance is open to other partners and Nikkei that Mazda, Daihatsu and Honda may join the battery development effort that shall also look into battery recycling.
With a 29 percent market share, Panasonic is the world’s biggest supplier of batteries for plug-in hybrids and EVs, according to January-June data from Nomura Research. It is also Tesla’s closest ally in battery making but Panasonic already makes prismatic batteries for Toyota, whereas Tesla uses cylindrical batteries in all its electric cars.
Toyota has recently made the shift from from NiMH to Li-ion batteries and has since been looking into both development and production, also outside of Japan. The first electric Toyota model is due by 2020 (we reported).
On a global scale, the push for electrification by regulators in China but also Japan, Korea and the European Union has put carmakers under immense pressure and put battery supply at the centre of strategic problems needing to be solved. Both BMW and Volkswagen for example were looking to strike a deal for raw materials and batteries such as cobalt with mixed outcomes. BMW put a decision to produce its own batteries on hold until the question of longer term supply has been resolved (we reported).