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China BAK Battery to Develop and Manufacture New Li-Ion Cells for Vehicles

China BAK Battery, Inc. (BAK) plans to construct a new facility that will focus on product development and manufacture of an advanced lithium-ion battery cell product line. The new battery cells will provide higher energy density and power, longer life cycle and shorter charge times as compared to other types of lithium-based batteries, according to the company.

The initial customer development programs will focus on applications in Light Electric Vehicles (LEV)—such as the electric bicycle—and Uninterruptible Power Supply. The planned products from this new facility also have potential application in hybrid electric vehicles.

Timing of the construction of the new facility is dependent on the progress of customer development programs, according to BAK.

The facility will be owned and operated by BAK’s new indirect wholly-owned Chinese subsidiary. The new subsidiary, BAK International (Tianjin) Co., Ltd., will be located in Tianjin Beichen Hi-Tech Industrial Park in northeast China.

The earliest potential shipment from the new facility is fiscal 2008, and will become more certain as business development activities, and construction of the Tianjin facility progress.

In fiscal 2006, China BAK introduced a new line cylindrical battery cells for use in laptop computers and scaled its lithium polymer sales for mobile electrical devices significantly. BAK believes it is now in an ideal position to expand its product lines into these other emerging applications in order to capitalize on additional market opportunities.

Our new line of battery cells, which we expect to manufacture once our new Tianjin facility is completed, is a logical extension of our current product mix, it expands the market applications we serve and should strengthen our position as the worldwide market leader in lithium-based batteries cells.

—Xiangqian Li, President and Chief Executive Officer, China BAK

China BAK Battery, Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers of lithium-based battery cells in China and in the world, as measured by production output. It produces battery cells commonly used in cellular phones, notebook computers, cordless power tools and portable consumer electronics.

Early in 2006, China BAK formed a contract manufacturing partnership with A123Systems to produce that company’s first products. (Earlier post.)

Comments

clett

Big player.

earl

Hmmm,bak,A123,GM,Volt.Hmmmm.

Adrian Akau

China will be under pressure from the rising cost of oil and it will be necessary for them to look toward battery operated vehicles. Having good battery production facilities at hand will enable their transport industry to embrace production of EV's of all types.

adrianakau@aol.com

Skrivo

BAK will probably use A123 technology (read: steal intelectual property) to develop their "new" battery. Then they can stop manufacturing A123 M1 battery, sell "their" batteries and grab all the money. Of course that would be nothing new in China.

But I am not worried (A123 will also make some money till then) because prices will go down and big oil will not be able to stop it.

SJC

If they do steal the IP, that would mean that they could not sell the batteries or vehicles using the batteries in this country or any country where A123 has patents. This could be one of the reasons why A123 is working with Cobasys/Chevron.

Harvey D.

Lets face it, affordable A123, Altairs and EEStor (etc) storage units (batteries) will be built in China, together with most other batteries on the world market.

China could also design its own advanced lithium batteries if USA/Japan royalties become exorbitant.

Affordable Chinese e-bikes (millions built already), e-carts, e-cars, e-delivery trucks is a natural evolution.

India has the large low cost labour force to compete. Like China, India has a very large local market to satisfy and does not have enough fossil fuel.

SJC

But, if they want to sell them here or other countries with pattent laws they have to respect IP laws. They let them into the IMF and World Bank and give them Most Favored Nation status knowing full well they do not respect patents and will steal IP. Patent reform has to happen in the U.s. and soon. No one should be able to overcharge and keep needed innovation off the market for 20 years, but that is another subject.

Ike

Interesting how the LI battery business is also coming under control of Big Oil. The NiMH business is already being controlled by Chevron/Texaco through its Cobasys company which has a joint agreement with Ovonic, the basic patent holder for NiMH. So far Chevron/Texaco has been able to limit the size of NiMH for EVs by patent infringement suits.

Cobasys is a joint venture between Chevron/Texaco Technology Ventures, an operating unit of Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. When you read the name Cobasys, think Chevron/Texaco....Big Oil.

I see the same thing going on within the LI business
where A123systems, a LI developer, recently signed agreements with Cobasys (Chevron/Texaco).

Why is this important? Because The oil companies have gone together in the past to control the oil market and now they are working fast and hard to gain control of the other energy components, batteries, solar panels and alternative fuels distribution. All this can serve to limit innovation in the battery and EV technologies. In effect slowing down growth in the EV business and keeping us addicted to oil on the oil companies terms. Is it time for Congress to get involved or have they also been bought out by Big Oil?

SJC

The old legal measurement is motive, means and opportunity. While the oil companies have all three, I am not sure that they are guilty of the crime. If I were the auto industry, trying to stay in business and not be jerked around by oil prices and I found out the oil guys were gaming the system, I would be on the war path. Unless they are all in cahoots..and then we are all hosed :)

George

Is it time for Congress to get involved or have they also been bought out by Big Oil?

That's a good one.

K

If they are all in cahoots then they have decided to let me live rather well for decades.

How bad was it in the Matrix? Sincere question, I didn't see the movie.

Of course there is a struggle to control future energy components. That is what energy companies do. There is a struggle to profit from selling food, and clothing, and television programs. Socialism will cure it.

I will worry when there is no quarreling about nuclear, solar, ethanol, batteries, global warming, etc.

Andrey

BAK licensed A123 battery technology long time ago and is, actually, main manufacturing arm of A123 batteries for Black&Decker.

BTW, A123 is by itself slapped by patent infringement suit from University of Texas and Hydro Quebec.

Rafael Seidl

The city of Guangdong (Canton) recently banned some 300,000 motorbikes from its streets, virtually overnight. In that particular case, the reason was air quality but given China's autocratic system, it's just as possible for the Politburo to curb sales of ICE-powered vehicles to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil.

They already sharply reduced the credit volume available for car loans and some 15 Chinese cities are currently investing in light rail and other mass transit infrastructure.

In that context, a focus on Li-ion battery packs for electrically powered bicycles seems like a great business opportunity. They are also a good stepping stone for scaling the manufacturing technology up from consumer electronics to four-wheel vehicles, where high power levels tend to increase the fire hazard.

SJC

A lot of EVs, even bikes requires electricity and in China, that usually means more coal.

Rafael Seidl

SJC -

you're probably right, but the carbon emitted to power all those electric bicycles is much less than what would be required to power full-fledged motor vehicles. This is true even if though the electricity is generated from coal rather than hydrocarbons.

Note that China is also investing heavily in solar power. The battery packs on bicycles are still light enough (1-2 x 10-20lbs) to be quickly swapped out at "filling stations", provided the mechanical and electrical interfaces are standardized. This includes a tamper-proof way to read out the battery's charge state and history.

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