GS Yuasa Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation have begun collaboration on establishing a joint venture company to manufacture large capacity and high performance lithium-ion batteries that can be used in electric vehicles.


The three partners aim to complete the details and set up the new company sometime within the next six months.


GS Yuasa is expected to own a 51% share of the new company, with MC and MMC owning 34% and 15% respectively. The new company’s headquarters will be located within GS Yuasa’s Kyoto head office.


During the first stage of development, JPY3bn will be invested to install automated mass production lines within GS Yuasa’s Kyoto head office plant, capable of manufacturing 200,000 cells per year. Operations are expected to commence by 2009.


The three partners said application of large lithium-ion batteries is expected to increase dramatically across a wide variety of industries, including automobiles. Construction of systems that can quickly meet these market needs has become a vital issue.


GS Yuasa possesses advanced technologies in large lithium-ion batteries and is striving to broaden their applications. Meanwhile, MC intends to enter the battery manufacturing business and aims to create other related businesses as well. MMC is working to increase the use of the ‘cleanest’ possible vehicles.


The three companies decided that by combining their unique strengths, they could exhibit optimum synergy through the establishment of this new company.


The batteries that will be produced by the new company are based on the LIM series of large lithium-ion batteries manufactured by GS Yuasa (currently the only mass producer of such batteries in Japan) and follows a review of certain factors such as cell-structure and electrode materials, improved energy density and power density.


These new batteries have 10 times the capacity of those for hybrid electric vehicles, and are said to be the perfect choice for electric vehicles.


MMC plans to install the batteries in its next generation EV i MiEV (i Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle), which it aims to introduce by 2010.


The batteries can also be supplied for EVs manufactured by other automakers and to industrial applications for energy storage use.


The new batteries have high-speed energy input and output and comply with high-speed charge specifications under consideration by electrical power companies and potentially with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.


“We hope that our product will become the de facto standard for large lithium-ion batteries, and that the new company will increase production capacity [and product range] in response to the expanding market,” the three companies said in a statement.