German automakers have been late in coming to the electric car game. However, Volkswagen AG recently signed an agreement with Toshiba Corp. to develop an electric car.
The Up! subcompact concept car will be the first Volkswagen car to benefit from the agreement, which will pair Volkswagen’s electric drive train knowledge with Toshiba’s power electronics and battery system expertise, according to this Reuters story.
One major goal of the partnership is to develop a high-density battery system.
The deal comes amid a swirl of deals in the Japanese battery development and electronics sector. In May of 2008, Volkswagen struck a deal with Sanyo Corp. to develop lithium-ion batteries for hybrids and electric cars. Since then, Sanyo bought the nickel-metal hydride interests of Toshiba (Volkswagen also had been working with Toshiba on nickel-metal hydride batteries, a project that will continue, according to this article.) And even more recently, Panasonic bought Sanyo.
Even before the flurry of deals, the three Japanese companies had signalled a willingness to work together. In January of 2008, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Sharp Electronics Corporation and Toshiba America Consumer Products established an electronic product recycling management company, Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company LLC.