Toyota using Tesla-style Panasonic batteries for China hybrids: sources

Toyota and Panasonic announced a joint venture in January to build electric-vehicle batteries. Above, concept versions of Toyota’s next-generation electric vehicles on display in Tokyo. (Reuters)
Updated 13 September 2019

Toyota using Tesla-style Panasonic batteries for China hybrids: sources

  • Toyota is using Panasonic’s cylindrical batteries in its new Corolla and Levin plug-in hybrid sedans
  • Toyota and Panasonic announced a joint venture in January to build electric-vehicle batteries

TOKYO: Toyota has started using the same type of battery that Panasonic designed for Tesla in some of its plug-in hybrids sold in China, sources familiar with the matter said.
Toyota is using Panasonic’s cylindrical batteries in its new Corolla and Levin plug-in hybrid sedans launched in China this year, one of the people said.
The batteries are the same size as those that Panasonic makes for Tesla, but the composition is different, said the sources, who declined to be identified as the matter is private.
The move reflects Toyota’s efforts to secure stable supplies of high-quality batteries amid the accelerated global shift to electricity-powered cars.
Japan’s biggest automaker co-developed the batteries with Panasonic over a period of several years as it expands its lineup of electrified vehicles, according to one of the people, who has direct knowledge of matter.
A Panasonic spokeswoman said the company is not in a position to comment as a supplier, while Toyota declined to comment.
The Nikkei newspaper reported the news earlier.
Toyota has favored square, or prismatic, batteries for its vehicles, and uses some manufactured by Panasonic for its hybrids. The two companies announced a joint venture in January to build electric-vehicle (EV) batteries, pooling the R&D and manufacturing strengths of one of the world’s largest automakers with one of the largest battery makers.
Toyota has also partnered with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) and EV maker BYD for battery procurement.
Toyota is believed to have ordered about 50,000 of the cylindrical batteries, pushing Panasonic’s battery plant in Osaka to full capacity, the Nikkei said.
Panasonic has been the exclusive battery cell supplier for Tesla, but the US electric vehicle maker is in advanced talks with South Korea’s LG Chem as it seeks to diversify sources of the key component.


South Korea seeks arrest of Samsung heir in succession probe

Updated 04 June 2020

South Korea seeks arrest of Samsung heir in succession probe

  • Jay Y. Lee faces a return to jail just a little over two years after being released from detention

SEOUL: South Korean prosecutors have requested an arrest warrant against Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee, they said on Thursday, in the investigation of a controversial 2015 merger and alleged accounting fraud in a suspected bid to aid his succession plans.
The move spells fresh trouble for Lee, who, if arrested, faces a return to jail just a little over two years after being released from detention in February 2018.
Lee already faces trial on a charge of bribery aimed at winning support to succeed ailing group patriarch Lee Kun-hee, and which involved former President Park Geun-hye, and spent a year in detention until the bribery case was suspended in 2018.
Prosecutors said they sought Lee’s arrest on suspicions of stock price manipulation and audit rule violations, among other offenses.
In a statement, Lee’s lawyers expressed “deep regret” at the prosecution’s decision to seek his arrest, adding that he had fully cooperated with the investigation while Samsung was going through management crises.
Prosecutors have been investigating suspected accounting fraud at drug company Samsung Biologics after the Korean financial watchdog complained the firm’s value had been inflated by $3.7 billion in 2015.
Prosecutors contend the violation helped boost the value of its major owner, Cheil Industries, which counted Lee as its top shareholder, and merged with Samsung C&T, a de facto holding firm, Yonhap news agency said.
Samsung requested an outside review of the investigation to weigh the validity of the indictment and the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office is following the necessary procedures, it said in a statement.
Last month, prosecutors questioned Lee, 51, over the latest investigation. He also apologized for a series of controversies around his succession planning.
Lee’s year in detention followed separate charges that he bribed Park to win government support for the 2015 merger which helped tighten his control of South Korea’s top conglomerate.