Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd. Business Report FY2009

Business Highlights

Business Restructuring

-The Company was officially established on July 1, 2009. The Company will take over the automobile parts business of Hitachi, Ltd. It will revise the traditional policy aiming at scale expansion and will thoroughly implement the profit-oriented management. Based on responsibility clarification and quick decision making, the new company will take advantage of the Hitachi Group synergy to provide excellent products and services. In sales activities, the source of profit making, the Company will be aggressive in offering technology-based proposals. It will exploit its strength, that is, its capability of supplying systems, not just parts. As for R&D, it will develop its product portfolio with the key concept of computerization and electro actuation. Its investments will be concentrated on hybrid vehicle systems, highly-fuel-efficient engine mechanism parts and electronic control technology products. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on July 2, 2009)


R&D Activities

-The Company has decided to be more active in technology development in order to increase orders for its electric powertrain systems used in hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles. It plans to establish in three years a full-line technology platform encompassing a moderately priced type with limited utilization of the driving motor through high-performance type that maximizes merits of the electric drive system. The Company will thus be prepared to provide technological proposals suitable for respective product plans of automakers including overseas manufacturers in an aim to address the needs of each automaker working on CO2 reduction. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Mar. 15, 2010)

Product Developments

Lithium-ion batteries
-The Company announced that the Group developed a lithium-ion battery having the world's highest power density of 4,500W/kg, and will start its sample delivery to automakers in Japan and abroad 2009 fall. In order to achieve the highest output in the world, the fourth generation battery employs a new manganese cathode, thinner electrodes, improved power collection method and effective configurations. Its mass production is expected to start in 2013. The new lithium-ion battery has a 70 percent higher output than the current second generation now under volume production, which develops 2,600W/kg. It is 120 x 90 x 180 mm in size and weighs 0.24 kg per cell, 20 percent lighter than the second generation product. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on May 20, 2009)

3-axis composite sensors
-The Company announced it has developed a 3-axis composite sensor by integrating three MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) into a single chip for detecting a running posture of an automobile. Enhanced resistance to heat and vibration allows the sensor to be installed in the engine room. It can be mounted directly to the brake hydraulic control unit, which eliminates the need for the wiring that has been placed in the compartment. The Company is expecting integration of this sensor with the electronic stability control device, which is being used more and more widely, will lead to lower cost and easier installation. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Oct. 7, 2009)

Lithium-ion secondary batteries for plug-in hybrid vehicles
-The Company announced that it has developed a new lithium-ion secondary battery for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs). The new battery offers a large energy density level of 120kWh/kg, which is twice that of the Group's second-generation PHV battery currently mass produced at Hitachi Vehicle Energy, Ltd., while maintaining the same level of output density as that of the existing technology. The Company is going to start providing samples to global automakers 2010 spring. Each cell of the battery has electric power capacity of 25 ampere hour, which is four to five times larger than conventional hybrid batteries. In order to enhance safety in use given the high capacity, the Company developed a heat-resistant separator by applying ceramics technology. Mass production of the new battery is scheduled to begin in 2013. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Jan. 13, 2010)

"SolidGuardian," a solution for analyzing vehicle driving conditions
-The Company announced that it will put on the market in Apr. 2010 the "SolidGuardian,"a solution for analyzing vehicle driving conditions. The system enables operators of the vehicle that is not installed with in-vehicle communication devices to analyze such information as driving conditions and speed changes, as well as to assess safety and eco-friendliness of driving. The "SolidGuardian"functions in tandem with the "SolidNavi," which is a car navigation system equipped on vehicles for business use like taxis. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Mar. 18, 2010)

Active suspension systems
-The Company has developed an active suspension system. The new technology employs hydraulic power to allow flexible control of damping and stroke. It is an advanced version of the existing semi-active suspension system, which uses coil springs. The new method will improve riding comfort and maneuverability, while optimizing load levels on each tire, which maximizes tire grip and enhances driving safety. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Mar. 30, 2010)

Investment Activities

Investments in Japan

-The Company announced completion of its mass production line for the third-generation lithium-ion batteries to be used in the next-generation hybrid vehicles. Its full-scale operation will commence in 2010. The current monthly production capacity is 40,000 unit cells, which will be increased by 300,000 unit cells when the full-scale operation begins. According to Hitachi, Ltd., the new line is capable of meeting the needs for manufacturing over 100,000 hybrid vehicles per year. Hitachi's lithium-ion batteries have been sold mainly in Japan and the U.S. for commercial hybrid vehicles including light-duty trucks. Hitachi, however, will accelerate sales expansion for application in passenger hybrid vehicles with sharply increasing demand, taking advantage of the new production line built at the site of headquarters plant of Hitachi Vehicle Energy, Ltd., Hitachinaka, Ibaraki Pref., Japan. This affiliate was jointly established by Hitachi, Ltd., Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery Co., Ltd. and Hitachi Maxell, Ltd. The batteries will be sold through the Company. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Oct. 20, 2009)

Investments Outside Japan

-The Company will greatly increase its production capacity in China. The Company will revamp its existing production lines in order to respond to growing vehicle production in China and also to start making components for use in fuel-efficient vehicles using the most advanced technologies. It will lift its supply capacity at each of its plant in steps, as production of vehicles with the same level of fuel efficiency as those popularly sold in developed countries is expected to be in earnest in China, as well. The Chinese new car market, which continues to show strong growth, has been faced with shortage in supply of vehicle components. Hitachi, Ltd. says,"We need to boost our capacity in all areas including suspension products, brake products, as well as electronic control units, since we are now unable to meet with the rising demand levels. The volume of orders we have received is 20 to 30 percent more than we expected." The Company is investing in additional production equipment to expand production, while working on increasing local procurement and introducing production technologies that best meet local requirements, which will also contribute to further cost savings. (From an article in the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun on Mar. 23, 2010)