Toyota Motor and Panasonic plan to have in place a new joint venture in China by next year to produce batteries for electric vehicles, according to a report in the Nikkei business daily citing sources close to the negotiations.
The unofficial source suggested the joint venture would be owned 51% by Toyota and 49% by Panasonic and would help support Toyota's plans to rapidly increase electric vehicle production in the country. The facility would be significant in size and may also supply batteries to Toyota's EV technology partners Mazda and Subaru.
Toyota and Panasonic have been discussing setting up a high density prismatic EV battery joint venture in China since 2017 and an official announcement could come as early as this week.
The sources suggested Panasonic had agreed to shift most of its existing prismatic battery equipment and facilities in Japan and China to the new joint venture. Its EV battery joint venture with Tesla in the US, which makes cylindrical batteries, would not be affected by this new partnership.
The new joint venture would help Toyota achieve its long term aim of selling over 1m zeroemission battery EVs and fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) by 2030.