Panasonic in discussions with Subaru for EV battery deal

Japanese battery producer Panasonic Energy and carmaker Subaru have entered discussions to establish a mid- to long-term partnership for lithium-ion batteries to be used in electric vehicle (EV) production in east Japan. 

The collaboration aims to enable Panasonic to supply batteries to Subaru’s factories in the Gunma prefecture starting in the late 2020s. However, specific supply volumes have not been disclosed.

With the global drive towards decarbonisation, the demand for EVs is projected to increase steadily. Japan has committed to banning gasoline-only passenger car sales and transitioning to EVs by 2035, as part of its goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Panasonic Energy, a subsidiary of the larger Panasonic conglomerate, presently has a battery production capacity of 12 GWh/yr in Japan and 38 GWh/yr overseas. The company’s global production capacity target for 2030 is 200 GWh/yr, though the breakdown of production by geography remains undisclosed.

Furthermore, Panasonic hinted at the possibility of further partnerships and collaborations in the future.

“We have many requests [for battery supply] and already under discussions with them on original equipment manufacturing,” Panasonic’s chief financial officer Hirokazu Umeda said on 31 July. “For Subaru’s Gunma plants, all batteries will be supplied from our domestic plants but for other projects, nothing has [been] decided yet.”

The potential partnership with Subaru is the latest for Panasonic Energy, which is aiming to secure more supply contracts. The company agreed in April to supply lithium-ion cells to Oslo-based Hexagon Purus, expecting to start deliveries from early 2026.

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