Japan to boost support for next-generation EV battery development

The Japanese government plans to strengthen support for the development of next-generation car batteries as it aims to expand the use of electric vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, government sources said Thursday.

The industry ministry will include the support for battery development in an action plan it aims to compile at the end of this year, following Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s pledge Monday to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Japan to net zero by 2050.

Batteries take up around 30 percent of costs to develop an electric car and directly influence the performance of the vehicle.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will push the technological development of solid-state batteries, which are believed to help improve the driving range of EVs and charge quicker than existing lithium-ion batteries.

It will also strengthen efforts to ensure the supply of rare metals and other key materials used in making the batteries, the sources said.

The move comes as competition in producing emission-free cars and EV technologies continues to intensify across the globe amid tighter environmental regulations.

Toyota Motor Corp. and Panasonic Corp have tied up in manufacturing and selling batteries for EVs, while Honda Motor Co and General Motors Co are also jointly developing batteries and battery components for their vehicles.