Japanese battery manufacturers add capacity to meet EV demand

Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, GM and Ford increase use of lithium-ion batteries



The "eQ" to be launched by Toyota in or after December 2012, powered by Panasonic's 12 kWh lithium-ion battery, has achieved the world's highest "electric power consumption rate" of 104 Wh/km.

 Reported below is a summary of the present status and future plans of development, production and supply by Japanese manufacturers of batteries for electrified vehicles, including those for some start/stop systems that use lithium-ion batteries.

 In terms of sales volumes in 2012, Toyota and Honda are the two leading names of electrified vehicles, especially the HVs (Hybrid electric vehicles) that use nickel metal hydride batteries. In September 2012, the cumulative production of nickel metal hydride and other batteries by Primearth EV Energy, 80.5% owned by Toyota, reached enough quantities for five million vehicles.

 Only six models of electrified vehicles fitted with lithium-ion batteries were sold by Japanese OEMs as of the end of 2011 (see Note). More HVs, EVs (Electric vehicles) and PHV (Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) are launched or slated for market launch from 2012 on by Japanese and foreign OEMs.

 To meet the increasing demand, the manufacturers of batteries for electrified vehicles are strengthening their production facilities. In particular, Lithium Energy Japan (LEJ) and Blue Energy are increasing their capacities significantly.

 Some manufacturers are starting production of batteries overseas. Nissan is starting volume production of lithium-ion batteries in the US and the UK toward the end of 2012. Hitachi Vehicle Energy has plans to produce battery modules in the US. Panasonic will produce nickel metal hydride batteries in Slovakia.

 Toyota and Honda had announced plans to produce EVs and HVs, including batteries, motors and other key components, in the US and China. Panasonic is studying the feasibility of producing automotive batteries in China. A close collaboration with overseas customers is becoming vital in the development and production of batteries. This trend will be accelerated also as a way to hedge the risk of high appreciation of the yen.

 Eliiy Power (partnered with Suzuki), IHI (its US partner, A123 Systems, has filed for bankruptcy protection but its automotive battery division will be taken over by Johnson Controls), Murata Manufacturing (has already acquired necessary technology from Enax), Sony and a few other companies have announced or otherwise been reported as planning to enter the automotive battery markets.

 The companies that are already selling electrified vehicles, namely Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi, are each partnered with battery manufacturers. They are also buying batteries from other battery manufacturers as well to reduce costs and to buy batteries from a wider range of sources that meet their specific vehicle specifications.

(Note) The six models are Mitsubishi's i-MiEV, MINICAB MiEV, Nissan's Leaf, Fuga, Honda's Civic (sold in overseas markets exclusively) and Toyota's Prius α (3-row seat version).

Related reports:
HV/EV launch plans by Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and Daihatsu (posted in September, 2012)
EV/HV/PHV launch plans by Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Suzuki (posted in October 2012)

Increased production plans in Japan and overseas by manufacturers of batteries for electrified vehicles

When Description
Japan LEJ Spring
 The completion of the second phase of the Ritto plant construction will raise LEJ's total annual capacity to an equivalent of approximately 150,000 units of Mitsubishi i-MiEV.
Blue Energy Fall 2012  Tripling annual capacity of the Osadano plant in Kyoto Prefecture from 5 million to 15 million cells to ready for the Honda Accord HV/PHV launch.
Overseas Nissan October
 Producing lithium-ion batteries for up to 200,000 electrified vehicles a year at the Smyrna plant in the US.
End of
 Will start producing lithium-ion batteries for up to 60,000 electrified vehicles a year at the Sunderland plant in the UK.
Hitachi Vehicle
 Will start producing lithium-ion battery modules at the Harrodsburg plant in Kentucky, US. The modules will reportedly be used in GM's eAssist vehicles and Nissan's front-wheel drive HVs.
Panasonic As early
as fall
 Will start, in the fall of 2012 at the earliest, production of nickel metal hydride batteries at a plant in Slovakia for supply to VW group companies (cells will be shipped from Japan and assembled locally).
 Panasonic is producing lithium-ion batteries for consumer devices at three plants in China, and is said to be considering producing batteries for automotive use as well.

(Note) LEJ(Lithium Energy Japan): 51% owned by GS Yuasa, 4.4% by Mitsubishi Motors, Blue Energy: 51% owned by GS Yuasa, 49% by Honda, Hitachi Vehicle Energy: 65% owned by Hitachi.

Four Japanese OEMs and GM/Ford buying lithium-ion batteries from plural sources

Toyota Vehicle Prius α Prius PHV EV "eQ"
Supplier PEVE/Panasonic Panasonic Panasonic
Nissan Vehicle Leaf Fuga/Cima HV Front-wheel drive HV
Supplier AESC AESC Hitachi Vehicle Energy
Honda Vehicle Civic HV Fit EV CR-Z HV Accord HV/PHV
Supplier Blue Energy Toshiba Blue Energy Blue Energy
Supplier LEJ/Toshiba LEJ/Toshiba Toshiba
GM Vehicle Chevrolet Volt eAssist vehicles Chevrolet Spark EV
Supplier LG Chem Hitachi Vehicle Energy A123 Systems
Ford Vehicle Focus EV C-Max HV/PHV Fusion HV/PHV Lincoln MKZ HV
Supplier LG Chem Panasonic Panasonic Panasonic

(Note) PEVE(Primearth EV Energy): 80.5% owned by Toyota, AESC(Automotive Energy Supply Corporation): 51% owned by Nissan.

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