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by Steve Hanley
20. January 2019 by Steve Hanley
Toyota has been slowly exiting the gate to build cars with plugs, preferring to rest on its laurel as the first company to sell conventional hybrid cars in large quantities. Apart from that, it has thrown a lot with fuel cell technology, which manages to sell hundreds of 19459009 of its Mirai hydrogen powered sedans worldwide in recent years. And then there is this thing:
But Toyota is in danger of being left behind when the electric car revolution is gaining momentum, especially in China and other world markets. And then it has formed a joint venture with Panasonic to produce EV batteries. Toyota will own 51% of the new business and Panasonic the remaining 49%. Panasonic will transfer ownership of five China and Japan battery production facilities to the new unit, but the deal will not affect the partnership with Tesla in Nevada.
According to Nikkei Asian Review the total amount of battery capacity from the new venture will be 50 times greater than what Toyota is now using for its standard hybrid cars. The expectation is that such an expanded capacity will dramatically reduce the cost effect of the batteries.
JV will also supply Mazda batteries, which work with Toyota on EV technology, along with Toyota's subsidiaries Daihatsu and Subaru. Honda is currently using Panasonic battery cells in its hybrid projects and will also benefit from the new combination production event.
The two companies will also work to develop next-generation solid state batteries that are expected to increase the range of electric cars at lower prices than today's lithium-ion batteries. They have been working together on solid state technologies since 2017. One of the perceived benefits of solid state batteries is that they do not have any liquid electrolyte that can cause fire in rare cases.
Toyota plans to triple its annual sales of electrified vehicles – a term that includes conventional hybrids – to 5.5 million by 2030, but lower battery prices are crucial to achieving that goal. The new business relationship is expected to help bring cheaper batteries to the market and spread the development costs over a broader business model. The link between the two companies can also allow them to compete more effectively for scarce raw materials, as the demand for batteries is increasing globally.
Has any of this significant Toyota been turned away from its fixation on fuel cell vehicles? Not necessarily, but it indicates a course correction that can lean in that direction in the near future.
Tags: EV batteries, panasonic, solid state battery, toyota batteries, Toyota Panasonic