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Panasonic and Toyota team up to build prismatic batteries for EVs

Two Japanese executives shake hands
Enlarge / Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor Corp., left, shakes hands with Kazuhiro Tsuga, president of Panasonic Corp., during a joint news conference in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017.
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Monday, Panasonic and Toyota announced that they are creating a new joint venture to develop and build advanced batteries for electric vehicles. The new company will be called Prime Planet Energy and Solutions, and when it starts operating in April of this year, it will work on the development and production of prismatic lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. It will also develop and manufacture more advanced energy storage technologies like solid state batteries. And this tech won’t just be for Toyota vehicles—the announcement states that “the joint venture will supply batteries not only to Toyota but also, broadly and stably, to all customers.”

Industry watchers may well have been expecting this news. Back at the beginning of 2019, we discovered that a joint venture between Panasonic and Toyota on battery tech was in the works, and most of the information we learned back then appears to have panned out. Prime Planet Energy and Solutions is 51 percent owned by Toyota and 49 percent owned by Panasonic, it will build batteries in Japan and China (employing around 5,100 people), and it plans to develop and build advanced high-capacity batteries including solid state cells.

It’s not the only recent Panasonic/Toyota tie-up. Last May, the pair revealed plans to create another joint venture to fuse together Toyota’s “mobility” initiatives and Panasonic’s “lifestyle updates” (yes, I can hear you rolling your eyes) to create a “town development business,” working on some of the same problems as are being explored in Columbus, Ohio as part of the Smart City movement.

It’s also not the only recent Toyota battery joint venture, either. In November 2019, Toyota and the Chinese company BYD announced that they were creating a 50:50 partnership to design and develop battery EVs (and the batteries to go in them) in China, also beginning this year.

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