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Toyota and Panasonic to launch joint venture for green auto batteries

Toyota and Panasonic to launch joint venture for green auto batteries

Tokyo, January 22, 2019Toyota Motor Corp. and electronics giant Panasonic Corp. are setting up a joint venture to research, manufacture and sell batteries for ecological autos, an increasingly lucrative sector amid concerns about global warming.

The Japanese automaker and the Japanese electronics maker said in a joint statement Tuesday that Toyota will take a 51 percent stake and Panasonic 49 percent in the joint venture, which is to be running by the end of 2020. The companies have been studying working together on batteries since 2017.

Panasonic will transfer equipment, assets and workers from its plants in Japan and China to the joint venture, and 3,500 workers from both companies will be moved to the joint venture. Panasonic already has invested in a battery factory with U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Inc.

Automotive battery operations involve a series of obstacles, such as improving performance, reducing production cost, ensuring stable supply and establishing a recycling system.

Innovations in batteries are critical for electric vehicles, with charging times and costs key obstacles.

Toyota, Japan's No. 1 automaker, is thought to have fallen behind rival Nissan Motor Co. in pioneering electric vehicles, and has been trying to catch up in recent years.

The companies said the auto sector was trying to meet various challenges that require innovation, including independent driving and car-sharing services."Today's automotive world is also being called on by society to help find solutions to such issues as those related to global warming, resources and energy," they said in a joint statement.