Toyota, Panasonic to expand electric vehicle push

Panasonic Corp

Toyota Motor and Panasonic Corp are starting a joint venture next year to make electric vehicle (EV) batteries, leveraging the heft of one of the world’s largest automakers and battery makers to boost their EV push.

Toyota will own 51 percent of the joint venture, and Panasonic the rest, the two companies stated in a joint statement on Tuesday, confirming earlier reports.

The joint venture, which builds on an initial lithium-ion battery partnership struck between the two firms in late 2017, shows the aim of the Japanese companies to become a bigger global player in the battery industry, which is important for the development of affordable EVs.

The two companies will pool part of present battery-related equipment and engineers to the joint venture. Panasonic will also move its manufacturing capabilities in Japan and China for its thin, rectangular-shaped prismatic batteries.

The two companies will move a total of 3,500 employees.

Batteries produced by the joint venture will be sold to different automakers.

The capital size of the venture has not been considered yet, the two companies stated.

The new joint venture also indicates that Toyota is expanding more into development and production of EV batteries just as many competitors have been stepping away from their development because of the heavy costs involved.

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