Among most major car manufacturers, Toyota seems to be the most reluctant to enter the world of electric vehicles (EVs) and instead still relies on using hybrid cars. Although hybrid vehicles are great for getting good fuel economy, they do not exactly address the problem of depleting natural resources.
However, the latest move from the Japanese company shows that Toyota is also interested in exploring the world of EVs and might one day completely shift to them.
Cheating on Tesla?
Panasonic has been a long term battery manufacturer and supplier for Tesla, an American carmaker known for its EVs. However, sources from the Nikkei news outlet have revealed that Panasonic is entering an agreement with Toyota to combine resources in a joint venture and produce batteries for their EVs in 2020. The joint venture will not only help produce batteries for Toyota and Daihatsu but also other car manufacturers like Mazda which is Toyota’s electric vehicle partner.
Panasonic will be transferring ownership of five of battery factories in this joint agreement. The batteries that will be produced will reportedly have 50 times the capacity of those that are currently used in hybrid vehicles.
Solid State Batteries
Combining resources means more research and therefore this venture will also be used to push forward and perfect the technology that is used in new solid-state batteries.
Solid-state batteries are much safer and lighter than their lithium-ion counterparts. Another advantage is that solid state batteries don’t have any liquid electrolyte which can catch fire. Even Tesla cars use these lithium-ion batteries. Solid-state batteries haven’t entered commercial production yet but this venture aims to change that in the coming years.
With the new joint venture, Toyota will own 51% of the business whereas Panasonic will have a 49% share. This venture will help bring down the high costs of these batteries and will help Toyota achieve their goal of tripling their annual sales of electric vehicles to 5.5 million by 2030.
Nikkei also revealed that while Panasonic is entering this deal with Toyota, it will not affect its regular operations of supplying Tesla with batteries for their cars.