Japanese automaker Mazda Motor and the energy unit of Panasonic Holdings will start talks to set up a battery supply partnership for electric vehicles (EVs), the companies said on Wednesday.

Such an effort on lithium-ion batteries is likely to carry Mazda a step closer to ramping up production of EVs, in a ¥1.5 trillion ($10.6 billion) spending plan it unveiled in November to drive the electrification of vehicles.

In the partnership, Panasonic Energy would supply Mazda with automotive cylindrical lithium-ion batteries made in Japan and North America for Mazda EVs expected to be rolled out in the latter half of this decade, the companies said in a statement.