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Japan: Panasonic supplies Toyota eQ’s batteries

Panasonic Corporation said it will supply the lithium-ion batteries for Toyota’s forthcoming eQ electric car. The company is already supplying Ni-MH batteries for hybrids to a growing number of automotive OEMs around the world, as well as lithium-ion batteries for hybrids, plug-in hybrids (including Toyota’s Prius Plug-in Hybrid and Prius α hybrid). Panasonic says it … Continued

Panasonic Corporation said it will supply the lithium-ion batteries for Toyota’s forthcoming eQ electric car. The company is already supplying Ni-MH batteries for hybrids to a growing number of automotive OEMs around the world, as well as lithium-ion batteries for hybrids, plug-in hybrids (including Toyota’s Prius Plug-in Hybrid and Prius α hybrid).

Panasonic says it is expanding its rechargeable vehicle battery business globally to meet what it sees as a growing market for electrified vehicles, but where Toyota is concerned, demand is expected to be predominantly for the support of hybridisation rather than for pure EVs. While announcing its commitment to launch 21 new hybrids by 2016 at the Paris motor show, Toyota also announced plans for only limited-volume trial programmes for the eQ, involving selected users in Japan and the US, which represented a significant scaling down of earlier ambitions.

Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s Vice Chairman, is reported by the UK LowCVP programme’s newsletter of 25 September as saying: “The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society’s needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge.” Uchiyamada, who led Toyota’s development of the Prius hybrid, reportedly feels that in the two years that have passed since the eQ was first announced, too many difficulties have emerged to see it become a commercial success. While Toyota had originally planned a global launch for the electrified eQ, expecting to sell thousands of units, it now expects to supply about 100 over the next year for demonstration projects in the US and Japan starting in December.

Toyota has also confirmed it is on track with plans to launch a hydrogen fuel cell sedan in 2015 and that it is accelerating its plans to follow Daimler in launching a fuel cell bus in 2016, in partnership with its Hino Motors CV subsidiary. 

Toyota’s focus on hybridisation and on fuel cells rather than BEVs puts it strategically at variance with Japanese competitor Nissan’s investment in battery-electric vehicles. Nissan’s Andy Palmer recently told the September issue of Automotive World‘s Automotive Megatrends magazine: “We say that we’re absolutely 100% the leader of EVs,” and said the fuel cell’s time had yet to come. “EV is easy, relatively speaking, because every house has a plug. In the case of hydrogen, a huge investment is required in hydrogen stations.You need governments to make those moves for hydrogen. For EVs, the populace can make the move. So we say we’re going to lead that.” Nissan has invested in fuel cell development, but does not expect the time when it could follow Toyota into the market to come until 2017-2020, according to Palmer.

 

 

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