"It would be hard for us to meet our 2030 goals given the current pace of battery development", Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at the announcement. Leaps in battery technology could help Japanese automakers catch up to foreign peers such as Volkswagen and Chinese manufacturers, which already have medium- to long-term electric-car strategies in place and are investing heavily in battery production.
"The auto industry faces many hurdles to developing next-generation batteries which are hard for automakers or battery makers to tackle on their own, " Toyota president Akio Toyoda said at a joint news conference.
The leading Japanese automaker and the major electronics maker are set to beef up cooperation to promote technological innovations for batteries as their quality influences the prices and performances of electric-powered vehicles. He added that auto companies could not tackle the issue of electrification all on their own and would need to look for help.
Toyota and Panasonic have made clear that they intend to form a comprehensive alliance in the battery business, working to develop new prismatic batteries for electric vehicles. "It would be hard for us to meet our 2030 goals given the current pace of battery development". By partnering with Panasonic, Toyota will be able to accelerate development by bringing their technologies together.
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Of these, 4.5 million units would be gasoline-electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles and one million units would be all electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles, said the CEO.
"The key to electrifying vehicles in the future will be batteries".
Both Toyota and Panasonic are now inviting other companies to help form new battery standards as well.
Advancement of batteries is essential to Toyota's development of environmentally friendly vehicles including hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles.