Toyota confirms Panasonic ‘gigaventure’

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Depending on approval from the competition authorities in China, the US and Europe, the as-yet unnamed venture will be set up by 2020 and 51 percent owned by Toyota. The venture will cover research, development, production engineering, manufacturing, procurement, order receipt, and management related to automotive prismatic lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries and next-generation batteries.

Toyota will transfer equipment and personnel to the joint venture in the areas of development and production engineering related to battery cells while Panasonic will transfer equipment, other assets, liabilities, personnel, and other items to the joint venture in the areas of development, production engineering, manufacturing at plants in Japan and in Dalian, China, procurement, order receipt, and management functions related to the automotive prismatic battery business.

To become the leader in battery-development capability, Toyota and Panasonic intend to coordinate vehicle design and share with their production-engineering resources and techniques, called monozukuri, to set up a high-quality, low-cost, stable supply. The batteries produced by the joint venture will be sold to various automakers through Panasonic.

The two companies say independent efforts by battery manufacturers or automobile manufacturers are not enough for solving the challenges of volume production of high performance batteries.

“Together with Panasonic, we want to hone our competitiveness in batteries, which represent one of the core technologies of electrified vehicles,” said Shigeki Terashi, Executive Vice President of Toyota. “We have high expectations for the new company, including―as we aim to deliver ever-better electrified vehicles to even more customers―its role in fulfilling our plans for the popularization of electrified vehicles including achieving Toyota’s annual global sales of more than 5.5 million electrified vehicles, which we announced at the end of 2017.”

Panasonic Senior Managing Executive Officer Masahisa Shibata said: “Uniting with Toyota’s battery and production-engineering technologies provides us an excellent opportunity for being able to evolve our automotive prismatic batteries, which have an established track record of performance and safety, faster than ever. Through the electrification of vehicles, we want to accelerate our contribution to the realization of a society of mobility that is kind to the environment.”


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