Panasonic-Toyota plans to halve the cost of electric vehicle batteries

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A joint venture between Panasonic and Toyota in Japan has announced that it will cut manufacturing prices for batteries in half by 2022.

According to foreign media on the 19th, Prime Planet Energy & Solutions (PPES), a joint venture between the two companies, announced that it would reduce the cost of manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles by 50%.

The cost of manufacturing based on electric vehicle battery packs is estimated to be around $ 100 per watt hour (Wh). PPES plans to lower the price of the pack to around $ 50 per Wh.

After the joint venture was established in April last year, the two companies decided to use the company name PPES and produce electric vehicle batteries and hybrid (HEV) batteries as of this year. The joint venture is also developing new generation solid-state batteries.

PPES manufactures lithium-ion batteries of the prismatic type. It is characteristic of reducing the manufacturing cost by reducing the use of cobalt, and the type of battery is known as nickel-cobalt-aluminum (NCA) batteries. Depending on the industry, there is also the possibility of producing all-solid-state batteries in the form of pouches.

Last year, Panasonic and Toyota agreed to build four local factories in Japan, namely Tokushima, Himeji, Sumoto and Higashiura, to produce batteries as a joint venture. The interests of the two companies were aligned, as Toyota will have a stable supply of batteries and Panasonic will ensure that Toyota, Japan’s largest automaker, as a customer. Toyota and Panasonic hold 51% and 49% of the joint venture, respectively. In the long term, the company plans to secure HEV battery production capacity in Dalian, China.

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The reason PPES is trying to lower the unit price of electric vehicle batteries is because Chinese battery industries such as CATL are price competitive in the electric vehicle market with the LFP in the lead. The cost of manufacturing the battery is related to the cost of the material of the battery, and the PPES should reduce the manufacturing price by lowering the cobalt content.

The price competitiveness of Chinese battery manufacturers is also a burden on the domestic battery industry. LG Energy Solution, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation are targeting the global electric vehicle market by securing basic battery materials such as nickel, cobalt and manganese. In addition, the company plans to lower the cobalt content to 3% or less by 2023 and gradually lower the unit price of electric vehicle batteries to eventually not use cobalt.

A battery industry official said: “Although the market for electric vehicles is expanding, it can be difficult to gain competitiveness if the cost of the battery, which is a key component, is not lowered. below a certain price.

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By reporter Jiwoong Kim ([email protected])

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