Monday, May 3, 2010

Japan�"s Sanyo Increases Battery Spending to $2 Billion

Japan�"s Nikkei today reported that Sanyo Electric Co. will increase spending on rechargeable batteries and solar cells to more than $2.13 billion. The company plans mass production of lithium ion batteries for plug-in hybrids and electric cars by fiscal 2012�and aims to capture 40 percent of the global market for vehicle rechargeable batteries by 2020.

Development of affordable, lightweight rechargeable car batteries�with greater energy storage capacity�is seen as the key to a mass-market for hybrid and electric cars.

Toyota Prius battery pack

Nickel metal hydride battery pack in 2010 Toyota Prius.

In December 2009, Panasonic acquired a majority control of Sanyo for $4.6 billion. The merger created Japan�"s second-largest electronics conglomerate�and gave the pair a market share in nickel metal hydride batteries, used in today�"s hybrids, of about 80 percent. Panasonic has historically provided batteries for Toyota hybrids, while Sanyo supplied Ford and Honda.

According to a report in Nikkei in Aug. 2009, Toyota will use Sanyo batteries in a hybrid minivan slated to debut in Japan around 2011. Toyota also plans to use lithium ion batteries in a plug-in version of the Prius.

Asian battery companies have also taken a lead in lithium ion battery technology. South Korea�"s LG Chem will supply batteries for the Chevy Volt. Japan�"s NEC�a strategic partner with Nissan�will produce batteries for the all-electric Leaf sedan.

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