Toyota Motor Corporation and Panasonic Corporation have concluded a business-integration contract and a joint-venture contract toward the establishment of a new joint venture related to the automotive prismatic battery business by the end of 2020 (pending approval from the competition-law authorities in the countries and regions concerned).
Toyota will hold 51% of the JV, and Panasonic 49%. The scope of the joint venture's business operations 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.
Toyota will transfer equipment and personnel to the joint venture in the areas of development and production engineering related to 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 (at plants in Japan and in Dalian, China), procurement, order receipt, and management functions related to the automotive prismatic battery business.
The total number of employees from both companies related to operations subject to transfer to the joint venture is 3,500 (as of the end of December 2018). Products produced by the joint venture will be sold to various automakers through, in principle, Panasonic.
As vehicle electrification accelerates, batteries are a most-important element. However, numerous battery-related challenges must be tackled, including not only having advanced technological capabilities to address issues of cost, energy density, charging time, and safety, but also being able to ensure stable supply capacity and having effective recycling structures, the partners said. The business environment is one in which independent efforts by battery manufacturers or automobile manufacturers are not enough for solving the issues concerned.
In that context, Toyota and Panasonic announced in December 2017 that they were studying the feasibility of a joint automotive prismatic battery business. Since then, the two companies said, they have achieved high-capacity and high-output automotive prismatic batteries that lead the industry in terms of both performance and cost.
The joint venture will integrate management and other resources from both companies, fusing strengths of both Toyota and Panasonic. Toyota is to contribute: 1) know-how and market data related to electrified vehicles, 2) advanced technologies related to solid-state batteries and more, and 3) Toyota-style manufacturing capabilities (monozukuri). Panasonic, demonstrating its strengths as a battery manufacturer, is to contribute: 1) technologies related to high-capacity and high-output batteries that are high-quality and extremely safe, 2) mass-production technologies, and 3) a customer base both in Japan and overseas. In this way, the joint venture aims to become the leader in battery-development and battery-manufacturing capabilities.
For the joint venture to become the leader in battery-development capability, Toyota and Panasonic intend to coordinate with each other from the vehicle planning and conception stage, and promote the acceleration of high-capacity and high-output battery development.
For the joint venture to become the leader in battery-manufacturing capability, Toyota and Panasonic intend to share with each other their production-engineering resources and monozukuri know-how, and, in addition to establishing a high-quality, low-cost, stable supply structure, they plan to also, among other efforts, leverage merits of scale related to procurement and manufacturing costs.