Toyota Expands Battery Production in Japan ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Toyota Expands Battery Production in Japan

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Toyota Expands Battery Production in Japan

Toyota, partnered with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., will build a third battery plant in Miyagi Prefecture in northern Japan. The joint venture, Panasonic EV Energy Co., will produce 200 thousand batteries annually at full production.

The new plant will begin production in 2010 and will cost $289 million to build.

What's surprising is the new plant will build nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries. With lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries on the horizon, it's surprising to me they would invest so heavily in a Ni-MH battery plant. That will certainly help in the short term as Toyota, so far, has said they will be sticking with Ni-MH in the next generation Prius. But, it's also been said they will switch to Li-Ion when they can.

Panasonic EV is 60 percent owned by Toyota, based in central Japan's Toyota City. Matsushita, the world's largest consumer electronics maker, owns a 40 percent stake. Panasonic EV currently has two plants capable of producing 500,000 battery packs a year, with another in the works that will be capable of producing another 300,000.

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