Prime Planet Energy & Solutions, the battery joint venture between Toyota and Panasonic founded in April 2020, aims to increase the efficiency of its development and production processes tenfold in order to better compete with larger Chinese competitors.
To this end, the joint venture plans to standardise battery design and streamline the processes of material suppliers, company boss Hiroaki Koda told the news agency at a press conference. Koda is also quoted as saying: “With ten times more efficiency, we can win against the Chinese.” The head of the company did not provide a timetable or concrete details on the scale of the cost savings aimed for.
According to Reuters, Prime Planet Energy & Solutions currently only has a market share of 3 per cent in batteries for electric vehicles. Their competitor CATL is in the lead with a market share of more than 20 per cent.
Prime Planet was founded in April by merging parts of the battery businesses of both parent companies. The focus is on batteries for hybrid vehicles. The joint venture has taken over Panasonic’s prismatic battery cell business, while the Japanese company will retain the development and production of cylindrical battery cells (for Tesla, for example) in their own hands.
Earlier this month, Prime Planet announced its intention to expand its capacity for the production of batteries for hybrid vehicles by installing a new production line. This will be installed in the existing Panasonic factory in the Japanese prefecture of Tokushima and is scheduled to go into operation in 2022. In a press release, Prime Planet announced that it is “borrowing” space at the Panasonic factory and intends to manufacture batteries for around 500,000 hybrid vehicles per year on the production line. In addition to work on improved prismatic cells, the new company also aims to make progress in the development of solid-state batteries.
Prime Planet intends to supply not only the parent company Toyota but also third parties. In earlier reports, the Japanese car manufacturers Mazda, Daihatsu, Subaru and possibly Honda were mentioned as potential customers. In return, Toyota is also taking battery cells from other market players and sometimes relies on Chinese suppliers, such as CATL and BYD.