As previously reported, Toyota's Prius is currently the number one selling car in Japan with a sales volume up 400% compared with the same period last year, not including the 10 month waiting list, as a result Toyota are outselling their battery supply. Toyota and Sanyo Electric are now discussing the possibility of the auto maker buying batteries for hybrid vehicles from Sanyo, a person familiar with the situation told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the Nikkei reported that Toyota will begin buying lithium ion batteries for hybrid cars from Sanyo in 2011, as Toyota's battery joint venture with Panasonic Corp. can't keep up with demand.
Both Toyota and Sanyo declined to comment on whether the firms are in talks over the supply of batteries.
Sanyo, who already supply NiMH batteries for the Ford Fusion Hybrid, is expected to become a subsidiary of Panasonic, with a tender offer likely to take place once regulatory hurdles are cleared,
A Toyota spokeswoman said the company's battery joint venture, Panasonic EV Energy Co., plans to raise its annual production capacity for nickel hydrogen batteries to more than 1 million units next year from the current 500,000 units. In addition, the joint venture will start mass producing lithium ion batteries from next year.
"We are ensuring a stable supply of batteries as we plan to sell more hybrid cars," the spokeswoman said.
Toyota holds a 60% stake in Panasonic EV Energy, while Panasonic holds 40%.