Panasonic announced today that it will supply lithium-ion batteries for Toyota’s new Prius PHEV. The company is already supplying nickel-metal hydride batteries to several automakers, but this will be the first time its lithium-ion offerings appear in a production vehicle.
The Japanese electronics giant is charging ahead in the battery business, with a major R&D effort to accelerate the development and commercialization of high-performance batteries, and a web of partnerships with EV companies around the world. In October, Panasonic announced an agreement to supply batteries for Tesla’s upcoming Model S sedan.
Toyota began taking orders for the new Prius this week, and plans to start deliveries in Japan in January, with US deliveries following in March. The initial Japanese sales target is 35,000 to 40,000 units per year. Given the huge success of the existing (non-plug-in) Prius, expectations for the new model are high, and the preliminary figures are auspicious – Toyota claims that fuel efficiency will be a chart-topping 143 mpg.