The Bosch and Samsung SDI 50-50 joint venture SB LiMotive has started operations in South Korea to develop, manufacture, and sell lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications.

Series manufacturing of lithium-ion battery systems customised to automotive requirements and global marketing are scheduled to start in 2011.

The two partners will jointly invest between $US300m and $400m in the next five years to achieve this. The new company is headed by Youngwoo Park (Samsung SDI) in charge of finance, production, sales, and purchasing, and Joachim Fetzer (Bosch) responsible for engineering and quality.

Bosch and Samsung SDI received approval from relevant authorities for the establishment of the joint venture just a few days ago.

SB LiMotive is based in Suwon, South Korea. The company will initially develop battery cells with first production coming later.

Roughly 100 staff are located in Korea. In Germany, a subsidiary based in Stuttgart will be established employing 40 working in sales, marketing and system engineering.

The location of the manufacturing sites for battery systems will be announced later.

Bosch and Samsung expect a market volume of some 3m hybrid vehicles by 2015.

The prime objective of the joint venture is to optimise lithium-ion battery technology to meet the exacting requirements associated with the automobile - with respect to power density and safety, for example - and in this way to allow purely electrically powered driving over longer distances.