Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) plans to produce lithium-ion batteries for electric and hybrid cars and market them to automakers worldwide by 2010, according to a report in The Nikkei.
The company plans to conduct test drives using the batteries in prototype vehicles by as early as next year. MHI showed a prototype electric vehicle powered by li-ion batteries last year at the Renewable Energy 2006 International Exhibition in Japan. The company also reportedly plans to develop electric motors for cars, with the intention of packaging batteries and motors together.
Mitsubishi Heavy has been working with Kyushu Electric Power Co. since the 1990s to develop large lithium-ion battery packs for stationary power storage units. The partners have been testing a 24 kWh grid-connected pack since September 2003. As a result, MHI has accumulated basic technologies in areas such as materials.
The prismatic cells for the stationary application use lithium manganese oxide, and are 270 Wh-class, with energy density of 160 Wh/kg and an expected cycle life of 3,500.
Kyushu Electric Power is also one of the power companies partnering with Mitsubishi Motors on the development and testing of the all-electric Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle (i MiEV). Fleet testing of that vehicle is due to begin this month. (Earlier post.)
Production of the automotive li-ion cells will be at the Nagasaki shipyard. MHI recently sent samples to some of Japan’s top automakers—presumably Mitsubishi Motors being one.
Development of Small Size, Light Weight and High Power IPM Motor for Electric Vehicle (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Technical Review Vol.40 No.5 (Oct. 2003))