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Panasonic Corp

Toyota-Panasonic venture to build lithium-ion batteries in Japan

A joint battery venture of Toyota Motor and Panasonic Corp on Tuesday said it will produce lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles at a plant located in Western Japan from 2022 to meet the rising demand for electric vehicles (EV).

The production line at a Panasonic factory located in Tokushima prefecture will have enough ability to build batteries for about 500,000 vehicles annually, Prime Planet Energy & Solutions, said.

“The global electric vehicle market is expected to continue growing rapidly,” the company said.

Established in April, about 51 percent of Prime Planet Energy is owned by Toyota with Panasonic owning the rest of the stake. The venture reflects the drive of both companies to become bigger worldwide players in an industry important for the development of affordable EVs.

Panasonic, one of the world’s biggest EV battery makers, is dealing with intense competition as a battery supplier to global automakers, including Tesla Inc. The other top players are South Korean and Chinese makers such as Samsung SDI Co, LG Chem and CATL.

Toyota, Japan’s biggest automaker, last month said it expects annual sales of EV vehicles to reach 5.5 million in 2025, five years before than what it was initially planned.

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