An EV from Toyota could be on the way.
Toyota was one of the first major automakers to popularize hybrid vehicles but despite this success, the company has been slow to embrace electric cars and has fallen behind in the EV race. In order to catch up, Toyota has now announced a joint venture related to the automotive prismatic battery business. The deal will be approved by the end of 2020 with Toyota owning 51% and Panasonic owning 49%.
According to information published by Toyota, the scope of the joint venture will "cover research, development, production engineering, manufacturing, procurement, order receipt, and management related to automotive prismatic lithium-ion batteries, solid-state batteries, and next-generation batteries."
Each of the companies brings a different skillset to the table. Toyota will transfer equipment and personnel to the joint venture for the development and engineering of battery cells. Panasonic will "transfer equipment, other assets, liabilities, personnel, and other items to the joint venture in the areas of development, production engineering, manufacturing, procurement, order receipt, and management functions related to the automotive prismatic battery business."
Together, 3,500 employees from Toyota and Panasonic will work on the joint venture. Products produced by the venture will be sold not only to Toyota, but other automakers as well. Panasonic currently supplies batteries to Tesla but the EV automaker has been in discussions with other companies to supply batteries.
We aren't sure when this joint venture will result in a production EV but it does show Toyota's commitment to EVs. "Together with Panasonic, we want to hone our competitiveness in batteries, which represent one of the core technologies of electrified vehicles. By contributing to the popularization of Toyota's and other automakers' electrified vehicles, we want to help find solutions to issues such as global warming, environment-related challenges, and energy-related challenges. We have high expectations for the new company, including its role in fulfilling our plans for the popularization of electrified vehicles," Toyota Executive Vice President Shigeki Terashi said.