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Toyota reportedly using Tesla-type Panasonic batteries for Chinese hybrids

The move to use the Panasonic units comes as Toyota looks to secure battery supply for the future.

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There's a little bit of Tesla in some of Toyota China's hybrids.
Gareth Fuller/Getty Images

As automakers continue to shift their resources to electric cars, it's no shock there's real concern about securing the materials needed to build such cars -- namely, batteries. In Toyota's case, it's turning to a company long associated with Tesla.

A report from Reuters published Thursday claimed Toyota has begun using Tesla-type batteries from Panasonic in its Chinese plug-in hybrid models. The move to use the batteries reportedly comes as Toyota works to secure its future battery supply for more electrified vehicles.

While it's the same kind used in Teslas, the cylindrical-style batteries are reportedly also the work of a co-development between Panasonic and Toyota in the past few years. Both companies also announced a new joint venture this past January to develop batteries for electric cars, effectively combining resources of two behemoths in the industry.

The order of Tesla-style batteries has also supposedly pushed Panasonic battery production to full capacity. The batteries are found in the Toyota Corolla and Levin plug-in hybrid models in China locally.

Toyota did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reported news.

Here in the US, Toyota doesn't sell a dedicated electric car. Instead, it sells the Prius hybrid and Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. The automaker's first electric car likely won't be ready until early next year. Toyota has also worked to champion fuel-cell vehicles in the US with the limited sale of the Mirai hydrogen fuel-cell compact car. It's also introduced its Project Portal fuel-cell semi truck.

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