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.
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.
Read More... [Source: HybridCars.com]