The announcement builds upon an existing agreement with Panasonic, the global market leader in automotive lithium-ion batteries, which is already behind the batteries found in Toyota's hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Toyota and Panasonic may create a new joint venture focused on the development of battery technology for use in electric vehicles, company execs revealed at a press conference on Wednesday.
Toyota and Panasonic specifically mentioned prismatic cell batteries for electrified cars, suggesting the batteries will be used for hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
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Toyota has previously announced that it plans to bring a auto to market with potentially revolutionary solid-state batteries by 2022.
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Toyota's battery needs are likely to increase after it said a year ago it would add fully electric vehicles to its product lineup in the early 2020s, expanding a green-car strategy which has focused on plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles (FCV).
Electric and fuel cell vehicles alone are seen selling 1 million units each year, up from almost zero now. "It would be hard for us to meet our 2030 goals given the current pace of battery development".
These plans afford Panasonic the opportunity to both sell enormous numbers of batteries to Toyota and to peddle the fruits of the pair's joint development efforts to other customers. "We need to be able to develop new battery technologies in a prismatic format, and this would be hard on our own".
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