Car Industry

Toyota, Panasonic will make a new joint venture focusing on 'smart cities'

The two are also working on prismatic cell development for EV batteries.

These days, trying to do everything as a single company is an exercise in throwing away money. Why not bring in a partner with both expertise and additional sources of funding?

Toyota

Toyota and Panasonic are far from strange bedfellows, and a new partnership will see each company rely on their specific strengths to integrate mobility into the idea of a connected city.

The two companies announced on Thursday that they will establish a new joint venture focused on the idea of "smart cities," areas that focus on connectivity, from appliances all the way to mobility. The ideas are still in elevator-pitch form for now, but as the partnership progresses, we'll get a better idea of what these two are actually up to.

"Toyota has been leading the mobility field, and Panasonic has long been serving lifestyle needs of people," said Kazuhiro Tsuga, president of Panasonic, in a statement. "We will put our respective strengths together to offer new value in everyday life. Through this collaboration, Panasonic will further challenge itself to continue advancement in the town development business, aiming to deliver the 'ideal lifestyle' for each customer."

Personalization of services is a big component of connectivity. With just about everything commanding its own connection to the internet these days, including vehicles, the ability to link everything up to tailor life to a person's specific wants and needs isn't just a pipe dream. It's not just about selling cars or IoT devices, it's about making all that stuff work in conjunction.

Earlier this year, Toyota and Panasonic announced that the two companies would work together to research, develop, manufacture and sell prismatic cells for EV batteries, an effort that will kick off in 2020. In addition to traditional lithium-ion batteries, the two will also work on solid-state batteries, a nascent tech that could provide some big benefits to EVs in terms of safety, energy density and charging times.