Automotive lithium-ion batteries are a core business for Panasonic (Photo: Panasonic)

Toyota Motor and Panasonic will jointly conduct a feasibility study of the potential of so-called prismatic batteries. The cooperation underscores a growing expectation in the auto industry that battery technology will be a crucial competitive factor as more cars are developed with electric motors.

Toyota said in a joint statement that its agreement with Panasonic “is intended to address growing demand and expectations for electrified vehicles.”

Prismatic batteries are thinner, weigh less and make better use of available space than cylindrical lithium-ion cells. But they also are more expensive to design and manufacture.

The two companies said they recognized that improved battery performance, competitive pricing, enhanced safety and a stable supply of batteries will make electric vehicles more popular. Their joint goal, they said, is to develop “the best automotive prismatic battery in the industry.”