Toyota, Panasonic consider joint development of EV
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[December 13, 2017]
By Naomi Tajitsu and Makiko Yamazaki
TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp
<7203.T> is considering making batteries for electric vehicles (EV) with
Panasonic Corp <6752.T>, as it ramps up battery development to help meet
its goal for green cars to comprise half of global sales by 2030.
The joint announcement on Wednesday builds on an existing agreement
under which Panasonic - a global market leader for automotive
lithium-ion batteries - makes batteries for Toyota's petrol-electric and
plug-in hybrid vehicles.
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.
Toyota's battery needs are likely to increase after it said last year it
would add fully electric vehicles to its product line-up in the early
2020s, expanding a green-car strategy which has focused on plug-in
hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles (FCV).
"The auto industry faces many hurdles to developing next-generation
batteries which are difficult for automakers or battery makers to tackle
on their own," Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at a joint news
"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."
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.
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Panasonic Corp President Kazuhiro Tsuga attends a joint news
conference with Toyota Motor Corp President Akio Toyoda in Tokyo,
Japan, December 13, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
To that end, Toyota in September formed an EV technology venture with peer Mazda
Motor Corp <7261.T> and supplier Denso Corp <6902.T>. The venture reflects a
trend of automakers and components makers partnering to develop the
next-generation cars, to reduce research, development and manufacturing costs.
In Panasonic, Toyota is partnering the main battery supplier of major U.S. EV
maker Tesla Inc <TSLA.O>. With a 29 percent market share, Panasonic is the
world's biggest supplier of batteries for plug-in hybrids and EVs, showed
January-June data from Nomura Research.
The pair plan to expand development of prismatic - flat, pouch-shaped -
batteries with higher energy density. Panasonic already makes prismatic
batteries for Toyota, whereas for Tesla, it makes cylindrical batteries of a
type similar to those used in laptops.
"Our cylindrical batteries are the most widely used batteries in pure EVs at the
moment," said Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga. "But when you look at the
future, it's difficult to gauge which format holds more demand potential."
"We need to be able to develop new battery technologies in a prismatic format,
and this would be difficult on our own."
(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu and Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and
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