2010 Lexus HS 250h – Click above for high-res image gallery
In 1996, Toyota formed a joint venture (JV) with Panasonic and the two companies have collaborated on battery production for hybrid and electric vehicles ever since. Back then, Panasonic had a controlling interest in the JV (60 percent), so it was appropriately named Panasonic EV Energy Co. Then, in 2005 and again this year, Toyota rolled more dough into the JV, bringing its share to 80.5 percent. With Panasonic's reduced interest, its been decided that a name change was in order.
The new name, Primearth EV Energy Co., is a combination of Prime and Earth. We don't really see the connection between the name and the not-so-green task of making batteries, but there has to be some good reason that Toyota choose it. Now, sporting that spiffy new name, Primearth has announced it has produced more than 3 million mark battery packs. Battery pack production has grown exponentially since the JV was formed. From 1996 to 2006, 1 million packs were produced, by 2008 the number stood at 2 million and at the start of this month, the 3 million milestone was reached, which goes to show that no matter what the name, batteries are pouring out at a blistering rate.