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Toyota Is Betting Big on Hybrid Cars, Just Ask its Battery Maker

  • Supplier PEVE sticking with hybrid batteries as demand soars
  • Decision on EV battery production won’t come until early 2020s
Making of the Toyota Motor Prius at the Automakers Tsutsumi Factory
Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

For evidence of just how big Toyota Motor Corp.’s bet is that hybrid cars will dominate new-energy vehicles until at least the end of the next decade, look no further than its battery supplier.

Primearth EV Energy Co., despite the name, doesn’t make batteries for the pure electric vehicles that are emerging as a newer rival to gasoline-electric hybrids, which have been around for more than two decades. Owned 80.5 percent by Toyota and 19.5 percent by Panasonic Corp., PEVE, as it’s also known, only makes cells for traditional hybrids, and the vast majority of those are of the older, heavier nickel-metal hydride variety instead of lithium-ion.