Panasonic is partnering with two Norwegian firms to explore setting up a green battery business targeting the European market Photo: AFP/File
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Panasonic teams up with Norwegian firms for Europe battery business

6 Comments
By Kazuhiro NOGI

Japan's Panasonic said Wednesday it has signed a partnership with two Norwegian firms to develop a "green battery" business targeting the European market, including for electric cars.

Panasonic, energy firm Equinor, and industrial group Hydro, said they would work together "towards summer 2021 to assess the market for lithium-ion batteries in Europe and... the business case for a green battery business located in Norway".

The initial phase of the project will involve consulting potential customers and holding talks with Norwegian and European authorities, the companies said in a joint statement.

Panasonic is already a leading lithium-ion producer and has a major joint factory in the US state of Nevada with electric carmaker Tesla.

The Japanese firm's executive vice president Mototsugu Sato said the partnership would "potentially pave way for a robust and sustainable battery business in Norway."

"We expect battery production to grow rapidly as a solution to the world's number one challenge, climate change," added Arvid Moss, executive vice president of energy and corporate development at Hydro.

"We believe the combined strengths of Panasonic, Equinor and Hydro represent an attractive starting point for exploring the possibilities for a profitable and sustainable battery business in Norway, where we have a strong foothold, renewable power base and close proximity to the European market."

Batteries make up about 40 percent of the value of an electric car, and the market is growing fast in Europe as consumers look for greener alternatives to petrol and diesel.

China currently controls two-thirds of worldwide cell manufacturing.

But the EU hopes to increase its share from the current three percent to 25 percent by 2028.

Last year the bloc approved 3.2 billion euros of state subsidies from France, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Belgium and Poland to stimulate a European battery industry and meet homegrown demand.

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

6 Comments
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I'm sad to see Panasonic abandoning so many consumer goods lines in favor of batteries and solar technology. I'v always had great service from our many Panasonic appliances and audio equipment but in many areas they have abandoned the field to cheaper and less well made Chinese kludge.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Panasonic and its Japanese peers were unable to read the runes over digitalisation, which greatly reduced barriers to entry into the industry. It also failed to heed how Samsung and (then) Lucky Goldstar were building capability, scale and loyalty in developing markets. Finally the industry in general, despite dispatching legions of managers to overseas factories and branches, thought their paternalistic 'make it and they will buy' attitude to consumers could still work in the internet era, and failed to effectively engage with and learn from users.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The partnership mentioned in this article has the potential to do a lot of good on the world stage. Panasonic working with Equinor (formerly Statoil, or State Oil), and Norsk Hydro, can use the resources of Norway's sovereign wealth fund (the largest in the world), to great effect. This collaboration can help move the electric vehicle trend in that part of the world to the next level. Bravo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 thought their paternalistic 'make it and they will buy' attitude to consumers could still work in the internet era,

Not sure it that's the whole story. In the US people now seem to default to buying whatever has the lowest price. Panasonic items we own are high quality and there is no way to make them as cheaply as the low quality kludge pumped out of Chinese factories. But American consumers by and large are no longer willing to pay a little more for higher quality. Those who are, like myself, are few and far between. For the great majority of consumers it is lowest price or nothing. This trend has also driven the Electrolux Group out of the US market (they sold Eureka and Sanitaire and no longer sell anything under their own name, were trying to sell their US factory too).

Example, there are dozens of cheap Chinese made robot vacuums on the market for $100 US or less. But they are horrible. They are round and don't clean corners. No replacement parts, filters or brushes, use and throw away. So we bought a Panasonic Rulo from Japan. It has features nobody else's robot has (such as being triangular so it can rotate into corners, very clever), is well made and ought to be quite durable. Parts are abundant from places like Denkiti and Useful Store (just love that name). But I paid six times as much as the Chinese kludge plus the cost of a 100 volt converter for the charging station (also Japanese, from Nissyo). The best Korean (but made in Vietnam) robots are similarly expensive btw as is Miele's Korean made robot and the Chinese made Roombas. Most consumers won't pay that much for quality. Amazon or Walmart will pedal 100 cheap Chinese robots for every high end one from Miele (really isn't that good either), Samsung or Panasonic. This I think explains Panasonic's exit from consumer goods. They could not bring themselves down to the level of the Chinese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The partnership mentioned in this article has the potential to do a lot of good on the world stage. Panasonic working with Equinor (formerly Statoil, or State Oil), and Norsk Hydro, can use the resources of Norway's sovereign wealth fund (the largest in the world), to great effect. This collaboration can help move the electric vehicle trend in that part of the world to the next level. Bravo

They will have some possibly unfair competition from Geeley owned Volvo. Geeley is going big on electric vehicles and has the resources of the Chinese government behind them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

... all guilty of the destruction lithium mining and batteries are dumping on this planet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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