Toyota, Panasonic consider joint development of EV batteries

Toyota Motor President Akio Toyoda left, and Panasonic President Kazuhiro Tsuga attend a joint news conference in Tokyo announcing a partnership to jointly developing batteries for electric vehicles. (Reuters)
Updated 13 December 2017
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Toyota, Panasonic consider joint development of EV batteries

TOKYO: Toyota Motor and Panasonic said on Wednesday they are considering jointly developing batteries for electric vehicles (EVs), a partnership that could help Panasonic extend its market lead in automotive lithium-ion batteries.
The announcement builds on an existing agreement under which Panasonic manufactures batteries for Toyota’s gasoline-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Toyota said last year it was planning to add fully electric vehicles to its product line-up in a shift away from its previous green-car strategy of focusing on plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles. It has said it plans to start marketing pure EVs in the early 2020s.
Panasonic is the main EV battery supplier for luxury US car maker Tesla. The electronics firm commands 29 percent of the market for batteries used in plug-in hybrids and EVs, showed Nomura Research data for the first half of 2017.
Nearest rival LG Chem holds 13 percent of the market, followed by China’s BYD on 10 percent and Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) at 9 percent.
“Working with automakers from the initial stages could allow battery makers to win orders that unlock economies of scale further down the road,” Credit Suisse analyst Mika Nishimura said in a research note to clients ahead of the Toyota-Panasonic announcement. “Partnerships could also allow battery makers to share R&D and capex costs with automakers to some extent.”
Panasonic sees batteries as central to its plan to nearly double automotive business revenue to ¥2.5 trillion ($826.14 billion) by the year through March 2022. To that end, it has been expanding battery production capacity globally.
It started mass production of battery cells at Tesla’s “Gigafactory” in the US state of Nevada earlier this year and plans to follow suit at a new plant in Dalian, China. It is also adding new production lines in Japan.


Sukhoi circles as Iran needs 500 planes

Updated 12 min 2 sec ago
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Sukhoi circles as Iran needs 500 planes

  • Sanctions mean Boeing and Airbus cannot sell planes to Tehran
  • Sukhoi reported to reduce number of US parts to win order

DUBAI: Iran needs some 500 planes and would likely back buying the Sukhoi Superjet 100 if Russia is willing to sell them to its airlines, Iranian news agencies reported the country’s top civil aviation official as saying on Wednesday.
Iran needs to upgrade its aging passenger fleet and is seeking to avert US sanctions on Tehran.
The US Treasury has revoked licenses for Boeing and Airbus to sell passenger jets to Iran after President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in May and reimposed sanctions.
Most modern commercial planes have more than 10 percent in US parts, the threshold for needing US Treasury approval.
But Russian officials have been reported as saying Sukhoi is working on reducing the number of US parts in the hopes of winning an Iranian order for up to 100 aircraft.
“If the Iranian airlines want to use this aircraft (Superjet 100 ) and the seller is willing to sell it to Iran, the Civil Aviation Organization is ready to issue its final comment on this aircraft,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Ali Abedzadeh, head of the Civil Aviation Organization, as saying.
“But this aircraft has adhered to world standards and is flying currently, therefore there is no reason for us to reject it,” Abedzadeh told Fars.
Flag-carrier IranAir had ordered 200 passenger aircraft — 100 from Airbus, 80 from Boeing and 20 from Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR before US licenses were revoked.
“The airlines have proposals for plane purchases and we are trying to devise regulations that will ease their aircraft imports. Considering Iran’s very large market, we need 500 planes now,” Abedzadeh was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.