Toyota-Matsushita joint venture to set up two plants for hybrid vehicles

A joint venture between Japan's Toyota Motor Corporation and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co will set up two plants to make batteries for environment-friendly gas-electric hybrid vehicles, media reports said.

The joint venture, called Panasonic EV Energy Co, will make an additional investment of 20 billion yen for making batteries for vehicles, reports said.

The move is apparently intended to boost production of batteries for hybrid vehicles at the joint venture, reports said.

Panasonic EV Energy, based in Kosai, Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, is 60 per cent owned by Toyota and 40 per cent by Matsushita.

The new venture aims to increase production of nickel-metal hydride batteries while aiming to start mass production of next-generation lithium-ion batteries at an early date, sources said.

One plant will produce nickel-metal hydride batteries while another will produce lithium-ion batteries, the report said.