Toyota-Panasonic Joint Venture Moves Hybrid Battery Production Up To Late 2009
Toyota Motor Corp. and Panasonic Corp. announced a joint-venture to start manufacturing rechargeable batteries for hybrid cars at a Miyagi Prefecture factory under construction to late 2009 from the originally scheduled early 2010.
Yoshiro Hayashi, President of Panasonic EV Energy Co., owned 60% by Toyota and 40% by Panasonic, told media sources that the company intends to implement adequate preparations for the production of nickel-metal hydride batteries for use in the Prius and other hybrid vehicles. "Although hybrid vehicle sales have been falling since late last year alongside sales falls (in non-hybrid vehicles), they will bounce back certainly down the track because it is impossible to ignore environmental problems," Hayashi said.
Panasonic EV has no plans to scale down its annual plan to produce batteries for 200,000 hybrid vehicles, with output in the initial year planned for 100,000 hybrid vehicles.
Toyota, which plans to release the third-generation Prius hatchback from mid-May, envisions releasing a plug-in hybrid car in late 2009.
Panasonic EV’s existing plant in Kosai has been supplying nickel-metal hydride batteries for use in Toyota’s gas-electric hybrid models.