The companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that covers a joint assessment of opportunities in the European lithium-ion battery market, with summer 2021 set as a deadline for preliminary findings.
The joint venture would also investigate the potential for an integrated battery value chain and for co-location of supply chain partners.
"Given the deep industrial experience of Equinor and Hydro, both strong global players, [this agreement] potentially paves the way for a robust and sustainable battery business in Norway," said Mototsugu Sato, executive vice president of Panasonic.
"We are pleased to enter into this initiative to explore implementing sustainable, highly advanced technology and supply chains to deliver on the exacting needs of lithium-ion battery customers and support the renewable energy sector in the European region."
The MOU states that the companies will engage with potential customers in Europe's automotive and non-automotive industries about the planned plant. They will also enter into dialogue with relevant authorities in Norway and in Europe aiming at ensuring a competitive framework.
"By pooling our different areas of energy expertise, our companies will seek to create a battery business that is profitable, scalable and sustainable," said Al Cook, executive vice president of global strategy & business development at Equinor.
The fleet of plug-in electric vehicles in Norway is the largest per capita in the world, with one in 10 cars on the roads fully electric-powered.