Toyota Will Team Up With Panasonic On High Capacity EV Batteries

JAN 21 2019 BY WADE MALONE 71

The corporations will set up a joint venture for electric vehicle battery manufacturing.

Japanese corporate giants Toyota Motor and Panasonic are joining forces to face the growing demand for plug-in vehicles. According to Nikkei, their plan is to launch a joint venture for battery manufacturing as soon as 2020. Both companies hope to achieve battery cost reduction and increased manufacturing scale in order to better compete with Chinese competitors.

Recently, Toyota again insisted that battery electric vehicles are not viable and are in low demand. Yet it seems the automaker has little choice but to comply with growing customer demand and government regulation.

Toyota will reportedly hold a 51% stake with Panasonic being the only other player at 49%. Once the joint venture is established, control of five existing Panasonic plants will be turned over to the new company. Obviously, no facility affiliated with current Panasonic partner Tesla will be impacted.

Panasonic currently supplies lithium-ion batteries for the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. The Prime utilizes an 8.8 kWh pack for an EPA estimated 25 mile range. The current non plug-in Prius has an optional lithium-ion battery with pack size of roughly .8 kWh.

Toyota Prius Prime PHEV

According to Nikkei’s report, Toyota and Panasonic will be looking to launch production of batteries with “50 times the capacity of those now used in hybrid vehicles.” This new joint venture will supply Mazda, Daihatsu Motor, and Subaru with batteries for future plug-in vehicles. These companies, alongside Toyota, are members of the EV C.A. Sprit Co partnership aimed at electric vehicle technology development.

Looking long term, Toyota and Panasonic will also increase funding towards developing high capacity, solid-state lithium batteries. It is certainly encouraging to see additional development in this next generation battery tech by a major automaker. Hopefully Toyota and its partners will use this as a jumping off point for stronger plug-in development going forward.

Source: Nikkei

Categories: Battery Tech, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota

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71 Comments on "Toyota Will Team Up With Panasonic On High Capacity EV Batteries"

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“According to Nikkei, their plan is to launch a joint venture for battery manufacturing as soon as 2020.”

“Toyota will reportedly hold a 51% stake with Panasonic being the only other player at 49%. Once the joint venture is established, control of five existing Panasonic plants will be turned over to the new company.”

That will happen in 2020.

Why will they not already do that in 2019?

Does it really take a full year to finalize all the permits and all the paperwork?

Because it is much cheaper to do it slowly and in a controlled manner instead of rushing it and throwing money at every problem that pops up.

Another Euro point of view

It’s also allows to act more responsibly towards your employees, controlled sustainable growth avoids the hiring & sacking cycle which can be sometimes witnessed in more erratic companies.

Not quite. Some ICE companies are already too late and are sacking people and closing plants in a big way.

Too late in 2% market? Maybe in a few years, but today it’s definitely not too late.

At 2%, you are already heading towards the Waterfall! If your “Engine Dies”, it will already be hard to row ashore!

At 5%, you can already hear the waterfall, and rowing won’t cut it! You now need a Helicopter, forget the Boat!

The Time between 2% and 5%, won’t be long now, in any market Automobile Companies sell PEV’s!

*Edit: It took 10 Years to go from 0% to 2%, but it won’t take even 5 Years, to get to 5%! Some Countries are already over 40% & even 50%! WITHOUT Tesla Model 3!

Legacy auto wishes.

What exactly does moving assets to a joint venture have to do with sustainable growth?…

Another Euro point of view

Nothing, but the question above was about timing, why wait till 2020 to form this joint venture and our joint reply was a strategy of steady sustainable growth rather than erratic burst then collapse.

When did the Tesla/Panasonic Connection have a Boom, then a Crash?

The Tesla GF1 Team had Bad Battery Module Robots, causing big delays, but they got replaced, improving Efficiency 4X!

eject: so a strike when the iron is slowly warmed up, sort of approach.

Toyota does everything at this pace! Even on the Tesla Inside, RAV4 EV, Tesla had a Running Sample for them, “Before They would have formed the Team to Do The Study!”, As one Toyota Employee said, at that time!

(Or the similar idea! Admitting Toyota plans for Turning the Wheels, then Schedules the Turning of the Wheels, then Confirms the Plan, and Rechecks the schedule, then gets the Wheel Turning Manager to schedule a time to pick his Wheel Turning Team, then checks everyone’s Holiday Schedule, to make sure there are no conflicts, then Shows them all the Wheels that Need Turning, then tells them when it is planned for, and verifies everyone can be ready, at the Appointed Time, to Turn the Wheels! Then, …. Finally, the Big Day Comes, and … They Turn the Wheels! Yeah!!!)

😁😀😂🤣

This looks like a huge, multi-billion undertaking. I imagine an army of lawyers and regulators is crawling all over it right now. The year 2020 is not all that far away.

Right! Can we say “Billable Hours?”

“Why will they not already do that in 2019?”

This could include the factory that makes 18650s for Models S and X. Panasonic said they would move that production to the US. That’s not an overnight process, though, and they may need to refit the factory for prismatic NMC or whatever before transferring ownership.

Not an entirely unexpected move. Even fuel cell cars need batteries, if Toyota continues down that questionable route.

But with fuel cells they could probably do it with the same non-lithium batteries that they have used in their hybrids.

More importantly, they need to make ever more PHEVs with ever bigger batteries in order to meet fleet emission standards. There is no way around this: beyond 2020 every manufacturer will have a lot of hybrids, some PHEV and/or BEVs. Electrified vehicles need batteries, even the much maligned mild hybrids. Every automanufacturer will develop expertise in the field of electrification, setting the stage for the demise of the combustion engine.

Do mild hybrids use lithium batteries?

Lithium Iron Phosphate, or LiFePO4, is being pushed or “Marketed”, for Start / Stop Hybrid Systems, already, from multiple companies! Also, semi-Solid Lithium Cells & Batteries!

All major car makers have a hydrogen program. Hyundai, Honda and Toyota are just the companies that didn’t fail to bring a production car to market like most of them promised at some point.

Not true.

Fuels cell cars have been pushed by governments around the world for 30 years now. In many countries like USA, Germany, Japan the subsidies are so high that it pays the companies to develop and sell even a handful of fuel cell cars. GM has had fleets of SUV fuel cell cars running around the USA years ago and still now has a partnership with Honda. Simply a matter of taking money being handed out to them by the government without any intention of marketing fuel cell cars of their own. It is also a hedge to have the expertise in case they are wrong.

Thank oil company lobbying for the government’s position.

Beautiful concept wish they would make the car darn you know it’s just vaporware pretty much like this story–Toyota won’t produce any BEVs for America it wants to keep us hooked on ICE, PHEVs and FCEVs forever. It may sell them in China or Europe but not in America. At least not until after 2025 or so.

Well, then don’t buy toyotas. Simple as that.

Surely not forever. Once Toyota feels it can manufacture EV’s with the same reliability, longevity and value for money as their ICE-equipped vehicles, I would guess they’ll start churning out those EV’s in their millions. That’s why, I presume, they want control over the battery R&D and manufacturing process .

EVs will likely only become mainstream when the huge manufacturers like Toyota join the EV revolution. Hopefully this happens as soon as possible.

There’s one that’s mainstream now. And we’ll see how quickly others get there.

Another Euro point of view

Right on time to produce EVs when those will start to be profitable in mass market volumes. Toyota does not make those yearly huge profits for no reasons (USD 20 billions profit expected for 2018). They know one thing or two about making a profitable business out of making cars.

Yeah, they know how Tesla is denting the sales of lexus. They also knew the FCEV was the future and then it died in their hands, people couldn’t care less to buy these, let alone to fill them up.

Your first sentence neatly summarizes the behavior of Toyota and other notorious foot draggers. I would bet anything that these companies are viewing the situation like this:

1. Yes, EVs are the future.
2. We hate [1] because it reduces our profits and those of our dealers, which will cause chaos. But we can’t stop the rise of EVs.
3. We don’t want to lead the charge in the movement to our own lower profitability and dealer apocalypse, so we’ll drag our feet.
4. We’ll do R&D, engage in battery VJs, etc. to get ready to spring one or more EVs on the market when we think the time is right.
5. Say whatever we want to justify foot dragging.
6. When we think it’s in our best interest to start pushing EVs, we will, claim the market wasn’t ready before then, and dazzle the morons in the automotive press with shiny sheetmetal on the show circuit.

Another Euro point of view

You just gave us a glimpse of the reality of running a profitable business instead of grabbing media attention and successfully founding a new church.

Interesting. Trying to make the guy running last the “winner” of the race.

[and dazzle the morons in the automotive press with shiny sheetmetal on the show circuit.]
Or… Try!

So Suzuki will just get the EV tech from EV C.A. Sprit Co, but will source the batteries from a third party? They might be more price sensitive selling most of their cars in India. They’re bigger than Mazda and Subaru, so if they get a mention why not Suzuki?

So apparently Suzuki will get technical support from EV C.A. Spirit Co, but will partner with Denso and Toshiba to built a lithium-ion battery plant in India. It was even reported on here, I obviously missed that story.

Maybe Panasonic saw that new partner will be needed to secure relevance in EV business?

We knew of the partnership before; and I’m pretty positive a likely joint-venture has been mentioned as well. So AIUI the news here is a rumour that the joint-venture will indeed go forward?

Wonder whether it will turn out more successful than the Nissan-NEC joint-venture years ago…

PEVE worked out ok.

The FCEV future did not work out very well and is now Future in the Past. Obviously they need batteries of larger capacity and high power charging.

Even A PHEV Mirai, would have been more useful, with a 25 Mile, Prius Prime Like, EV Range! But No! They had to force Local Drivers to go to the H2 Stations!

With 300 Mile’s H2 FCV Range, for “Backup”, the 25 EV Mile’s, if charged up each night, could give them a 50/50 BEV/FCV total Range, of 25 Miles 1 way on BEV, and 25 Miles back, on FCV, of about 11-12 days between H2 Fills, AND, about “600 Miles between Fill ups!”

It could be able also, to run on H2, down to 5% and then use the 25 EV Miles, to get to a H2 Fueling Station! Reducing H2 Range anxiety!

0.8 * 50 = 40 (kWh)

Looks ok for (plugin?) hybrids.
Kind of meh for 2020 BEVs

Toyota is using 1.3kWh batteries in the Prius and CH-R hybrids. So 1.3*50=65. Not bad for compact cars and CUVs

Re-Read this Article, it said 0.8 Lithium-Ion, in the Straight Hybrid Prius! They won’t use 65 kWh of the NiMH Cells, like used in a Older 1.3 kWh Prius!

The article is not accurate. They are still using 1.3kWh batteries in some regions and in some models (even larger in models like the RAV-4). There is no way to tell what size was used as a reference by the person quoted.

Don’t forget the difference between the usable capacity and the total capacity. I’m almost sure 0.8 kWh is the usable one when 1.2 or 1.3 is the total one (big buffer in these tiny batteries).

In the US perhaps, but not in W. Europe. In a highly urbanized area with moderate climate and DCFC’s at every corner the 40 kWh = 120-200 miles of range would be not bad at all.

Or, 40 kWh, 150 Miles, under $25,000! Maybe under $20,000 by 2025!

I hope they will not leak the secrets of Tesla to Toyota

It’s the Japanese, they already have.

If Toyota owns a 51% stake in Panasonic then Toyota already OWNS Tesla secrets.

Not necessarily. First this is not Toyota owning 51% of Panasonic, just 51% of Panasonic battery manufacturing in China. Second, it is possible (I can’t claim any knowledge) that Tesla has private agreements with Panasonic about chemistry used in Gigafactory 1 not being used elsewhere.

This is a Joint Venture, not an ownership. Toyota is 51% partner and Panasonic is 49% partner. Panasonic is not owned by Toyota, and Panasonic is not giving Toyota any of its Tesla IP or factory space. Panasonic is actually very smart, and also risky, to team up with the auto manufacturers. No other industry at the moment will require as many batteries. Risk is that they release one auto manufacturers IP to another manufacturer. If that is found to be the case then the legal battle could be interesting to watch.

Easier to copy companies who risk it all to do the right thing. Americans often attack China for ‘acquiring’ ‘our’ technology while turning a blind eye to Japan. If you’re old enough you’ll remember Japan was the ’80s Asian bogeyman. Out to destroy America from the inside! Japanese scooping up OUR land, companies, technology. No different than now just swap Asian nations.

Toyota does far more R&D than any American automobile companies. It has decades of manufacturing excellence as well.

I certainly remember Japan, Inc. from the ’80s. They did not institutionalize IP theft at anywhere near the level of China, though.

“The current non plug-in Prius has an optional lithium-ion battery with pack size of roughly .8 kWh.”, Funny, my 2004 Prius, had a 1.3 kWh NiMH Battery! Is the Lithium-Ion Battery so much more effective, that 0.8 kWh is as Effective at improving efficiency as the 1.3 kWh NiMH Pack, and can save Weight, as an extra Benefit?

Could be. If you compare Lead Acid to Li-Ion you see that both batteries have the same Ah but the Lead Acid only discharges about 50-80% before needing a charge, but Li-Ion can discharge to 100%. In recharge the Lead Acid can take about 1/2 the power compared to Li-Ion, so Li-Ion will recharge faster as well. So same battery spec but one has much better performance. If NiMH is similar then Li-Ion would have clear benefits.

This is the same Toyota that just a few days ago was being mocked for saying that they had no plans to go electric.

Hmmm…..

What an American executive for Toyota USA says about electric vehicles, is not necessarily representative of Toyota’s real strategy.

Sure, right. Implausible deniability, seems to be the current approach.

More accurately, the American perspective would be a limited scope… basically a representation of near-term for that market only.

My Toyota Avensis ICE engine died!! cant wait for the electric revolution..BEV

What an odd twist. We have been hearing all along that Toyota doesn’t want to build electric vehicles now we find out the Toyota is the primary supplier of batteries for Tesla. What are we going to hear next, that Toyota bought out Tesla?

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Toyota buys out Tesla. Maybe that’s why Elon Musk is trying so hard to make the company profitable right now, so he can sell his shares to Toyota and walk away. Personally I would much rather see Tesla ran by Toyota than its’ current management team.

The recent Bloomberg information about Toyota investing 1.5 trillion yen ($13.9 billion) in its battery business is at odds with the “doesn’t want to build” narrative. So, many just choose to ignore that inconvenient truth.

“..now we find out the Toyota is the primary supplier of batteries for Tesla.”

False. Toyota did not buy Panasonic, just some battery manufacturing plants in China. These are probably all prismatic, or in any case not the 2710 cells used in the Model 3. Toyota bought controlling interest in these plants for their own cars.

This is the Japanese way to save face. Toyota made some bad decisions on EV tech many years ago and now are quite behind their perceived real competitors such as VW, Nissan and Honda. So ….. they do it the Japanese way. Call up your sibling Japan Inc. company Panasonic and say… give me your battery tech information that Tesla is using and lets use that as a starting point so we don’t infringe in any existing patents. Afterwards this JV will be Toyota and I will compensate you through future earnings made through this venture. This is a smart move. In one years time they would have caught up on battery technology. Toyota already knows how to build quality cars. Give them another year to marry the battery with the car body. Another year to work out the kinks and prebuilt design errors. As usual their design of cars are meh as best. But they will be a dominant player selling EVs to mid market consumers at around the same time as VW where there EV cars in the lots and you don’t have to wait 6 to 8 months to buy a car. Tesla will still be the… Read more »

That’s better than engineering by press-release and niche rollouts.

Reality is, the propulsion tech is already developed and it is waiting for batteries to be exploited. Meanwhile, refinements continue.

Don’t pretend the PHEV and FCEV designs don’t share EV components.

Just 50 times the capacity? Why not 100 times? Will they sell them with X-ray glasses and a quitclaim deed to the Brooklyn Bridge?