Tuesday 22 January 2019 12:20 pm

Electrifying: Toyota and Panasonic to launch a joint venture for making electric car batteries

Toyota and Panasonic will launch a joint venture next year to make electric vehicle batteries, bringing together the two firms in a push on innovation.

The joint venture will be majority-owned by Toyota with a 51 per cent stake, while Panasonic will take up the remainder, the firms said in a joint statement this morning.

The venture will build on an earlier partnership between the two companies in 2017, which targeted manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries. It is hoped the new alliance will make batteries for electric vehicles more affordable, bringing down the prices of electric cars.

It will also run alongside an existing joint venture between the two companies, which produces batteries mainly used in petrol-hybrid vehicles.

Panasonic said it will use its battery-manufacturing capabilities in Japan and China for the venture, while both will share part of their current pool of equipment and engineers. A total of 3,500 employees will be transferred.

The amount of investment being plugged into the venture has yet to be decided.

It is intended that the batteries produced will be sold to various car manufacturers, the companies said. Panasonic currently holds the exclusive contract on producing Tesla's battery cells.

Reports ahead of the announcement by the Nikkei last week suggested the deal will initially target an increase in production and triple Toyota's annual electric vehicle sales to reach 5.5m by 2030.