Toyota, Panasonic setting up EV battery JV amid rising China competition -source
* Toyota to own 51 pct of JV, the rest by Panasonic - source
* Partnership to reduce Panasonic's reliance on Tesla
(Adds context on Panasonic-Tesla ties, share prices)
By Makiko Yamazaki
TOKYO, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp and
Panasonic Corp are set to launch a joint venture next
year to produce batteries for electric vehicles (EV) in an
effort to compete with Chinese rivals, a source familiar with
the matter said.
The joint venture, to be owned 51 percent by Toyota and the
rest by Panasonic, could also provide batteries to Toyota's EV
technology partners Mazda Corp and Subaru Corp
, the source said on Sunday.
The source declined to be identified because the talks on
the joint venture are private.
A joint venture would build on the agreement that the pair
announced in late 2017 on joint development of batteries with
higher energy density in a prismatic cell arrangement.
A Toyota spokesman said the two companies have been working
on the battery partnership announced in 2017 and declined to
comment further. Panasonic made the same comment in a statement.
The two companies may announce the joint venture plan as
early as this week, according to the source.
The battery joint venture will help Toyota achieve an annual
sales target of around 1 million zero-emission battery EVs and
fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) by 2030.
It will also give Panasonic cost and scale advantages in
battery production at a time when China's Contemporary Amperex
Technology has grown to be on par with the long-time
industry leader on the back of the rapidly growing home market.
Panasonic, the exclusive battery cell supplier for Tesla
Inc's current production models, could also reduce its
heavy reliance on the U.S. EV maker whose production delays
previously weighed on the Japanese company's earnings.
Panasonic is set to lose its exclusivity as Tesla plans to
source cell production locally at a new auto plant in Shanghai,
"most likely from several companies" including Panasonic, Elon
Musk, Tesla chief executive, tweeted in November.
The reported joint venture plan boosted shares of Panasonic
by as much as 4 percent on Monday, whereas Toyota shares were
Under the planned joint venture, Panasonic would shift most
of its prismatic battery-related equipment and facilities in
Japan and China to the joint venture, while those producing
batteries for Tesla will remain under the company, the source
Panasonic already makes prismatic batteries for Toyota,
whereas for Tesla it makes cylindrical batteries of a type
similar to those used in laptops.
It's not clear yet how Panasonic would supply its prismatic
batteries to other automotive clients, which include Honda Motor
and Ford Motor.
(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Maki Shiraki; Additional
reporting by Takashi Umekawa; Editing by Michael Perry and
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