Toyota Motor has agreed to acquire full control of Primearth EV Energy (PEVE), the manufacturing joint venture originally established with Matsushita Group back in 1996 to produce batteries for hybrid vehicles.

Panasonic is the other PEVE part owner with a 19.5% stake after Toyota increased its slice to 80.5% from 40% following a number of capital increases over the last two decades to meet growing global demand.

Toyota plans to acquire all of Panasonic’s shares in PEVE by the end of March making the battery maker a wholly owned subsidiary which it said would help “strengthen its capabilities in mass producing automotive batteries”.

The automaker plans for PEVE, which currently employs 4,700 people, to launch battery electric vehicle (BEV) and plug in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) batteries.

Toyota has three joint ventures and affiliates which make batteries for hybrid vehicles, PEVE, Toyota Industries and Prime Planet Energy & Solutions (PPES), a joint venture 51%-owned by Toyota and 49% by Panasonic Holdings. PPES also makes BEV and PHEV batteries.

Toyota said it would continue collaborating with these companies to develop and make batteries, adding its “shift into mass producing a wide variety of electric vehicle batteries will enable us to respond flexibly to growing battery demand while also helping to further boost mass production competitiveness”.

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