Toyota Deepens Partnership With Panasonic As EV Race Hots Up

Toyota and Panasonic have deepened a partnership which will see the biggest carmaker in Asia increase its efforts in producing electric cars. Currently Panasonic is one of the largest suppliers of batteries used in electric cars and is Tesla’s exclusive battery supplier. The two Japanese firms will collaborate not just on the development of solid-state batteries but also prismatic cells. The deal between Panasonic and Toyota will be building on a joint venture the two have had for more than two decades.

Toyota will be using the opportunity to catch up as it has been trailing rivals in the development of electric cars. Akio Toyoda, the president of Toyota and founder Kiichiro Toyoda’s grandson, has publicly admitted that the car maker is behind in the electric car space.

Playing catch-up

“Electrification is a major part of the once-a-century transformation taking place in the auto industry now. In order to make ever-better cars, we need to collaborate with a specialized battery manufacturer,” said Toyoda before adding that Toyota would welcome other firms to the partnership in a bid to speed up the development pace.

This is not the first partnership Toyota has formed in the electric car segment after initially making big bets on hydrogen-powered cars. Earlier in the year the largest carmaker in Asia unveiled a partnership with fellow Japanese auto manufacturer Mazda and Denso Corp, an affiliate supplier. In the top two most populous countries in the world, India and China, Toyota intends to unveil electric car models in the next three years. Toyota’s partner in India is Suzuki Motor Corp.

Nissan Leaf

Since 2010 when Nissan Motor Co unveiled the all-electric Leaf the carmaker has sold approximately 300,000 units. During that period Tesla has sold over 250,000 units of it electric cars. Toyota has however during that time not released a passenger car that is battery-powered and neither has Mazda and Suzuki.

According to Toyoda the largest carmaker in Asia intends to have half of the cars it sells bearing an electric component by 2030 and this includes hybrid cars. By 2030 Toyota intends to increase the sales of hybrids to 4.5 million.

Additionally Toyota has invested in developing a solid-state battery which is set to be installed in electric cars in the next couple of years. Compared to lithium-ion cells which are currently in use solid-state batteries come with various advantages including improved safety, longer driving ranges and shorter charging times.

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