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Mitsubishi and GS Yuasa to Establish Joint Venture to Manufacture Lithium-ion Batteries for EVs and PHEVs

The new 3.7 V, 50 Ah LEV50 cells.

Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and GS Yuasa Corporation are establishing a joint venture (JV) company to manufacture large-capacity, high-performance Lithium-ion batteries that can be used in electric vehicles (EV). The three partners aim to complete the details of the deal and set up the new company sometime within the next 6 months.

Mitsubishi Motors will use the batteries in its next-generation EV i MiEV (i Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle), which it plans to introduce to the market by 2010. (Earlier post.) The new JV company will also supply the batteries to other automakers for EV and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) applications and for energy storage use in industrial applications.

Mitsubishi Motors’ i MIEV. Click to enlarge.

The 3.7 V, 50 Ah LEV50 cells from the new company are based on the LIM series of large-format Lithium-ion batteries manufactured by GS Yuasa (currently the only mass producer of large-format Lithium-ion batteries in Japan). The partners will work to enhance the cell-structure and electrode materials to deliver improved energy and power densities.

GS Yuasa is expected to own a 51% share of the new company, with MC and MMC owing 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, ¥3 billion (US$25 million)  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 slated to commence by 2009.

GS Yuasa, with 2006 revenues of more than US$2 billion, was established as holding company in April 2004. It has 87 subsidiaries and 45 affiliates which participate in the businesses of storage batteries, power supply systems, lighting equipment, specialty and other electric equipment.

The company has worked with Mitsubishi Electric on a number of products in the past.



200,000 cells per year is not so much, it's about 37,000 kWh of batteries per year.

Each MIEV is to have 25 kWh, so that's enough batteries for a max of 1,480 MIEV cars per year. We need another factory!


Interesting how Mitsubishi and Chevy are looking at the same timeline, maybe Chevy isn't dragging their feet after all. It is frustrating though, that Chevy just doesn't produce a 30 mile range version of the Volt in 2008/9 and work the bugs out in limited production, while giving the early adopters the right to buy up to the more advanced batteries in 2010 at a reduced price...


200,000 cells/year does sound puny. And they expect to have so many cells left over they'll sell them to others! Expectations for the MIEV must be extremely low.

$25m is a lot for a 37,000 kWh/year production line (not even counting the building!). At $400/kWh, that's less than $15m/year gross revenue. Either these batteries will cost a lot more than that or this production line uses a lot of custom equipment.


I'm thinking that with the size of the budget and the production capacity this might be thought of aa a pilot plant.


All auto companies are married to the present 30% efficient (at best) ICE/Smog control auto power plant; there is lots less risk to continue to build them even with the expensive smog systems; it's a mature technology.

The American companies are not motivated internally in any way to increase gas mileage, reduce smog or GHGs. In fact they have a history of slowing down innovation in these areas. They are another controlling industry just like Big Oil. And, they stand to gain by slowing the whole process down. You will always hear GM crying about having to meet Cafe standards and threatening: "The people cannot pay the high price of innovation."

The future of bringing BEVs to market will depend on bypassing the traditional American Car manufactures and buying from the new guys in the business. I'm thinking Tesla and foreign brands right now.


“BAE Systems plc is the world's fourth largest defence contractor”

It's difficult to determine the motivations behind a gigantic conglomerate such as BEA systems. It's certainly good when any major company even considers the challenge of vehicular energy storage.

Manufacturing facilities such as this should be going up around the world in the hundreds or the thousands. Considering the amount of wealth the world spends fighting over oil, a thousand new advanced battery production facilities would be a drop in the economic bucket.



From a manufacturing standpoint, putting out a shoddy product to let the customers "work out the bugs" and conduct your QA & R&D for you is a quick way to make your product disappear and gain a very nasty reputation for your company. Particularly if you sell in any quantity to a government body.


Patrick, you mean like Microsoft with Windows? Hasn't really hurt them...

Shaun Williams

Well I guess this means that the i MIEV is a definite starter then, excellent.

Having reputable Japanese auto and battery manufacturers actually building something is very encouraging. Once again ahead of the pack...a sense of Deja Vu re the Prius...


Yes, because Microsoft windows is MANUFACTURED right? So tell me, why do people here automatically bring into question Chevrolet and Ford's vehicle quality? Why can't I buy a Fiat in the US? Put the orange back in your grocery bag and please bring an apple next time we are discussing apples (ie: apples to apples comparisons if you don't mind).

BTW - play any good games lately with Mac OS or Linux? Didn't think so. On the other hand you can get from point A to B in luxury or frugally selecting from most any car manufacturer.



Also an internal Dept of Transportation e-mail was leaked concerning avoiding use of Windows Vista...afterwards Microsoft stock took a little dip (tiny relative to the stock price).

So tell me, how many 3500lb vehicles traveling at 70mph are solely operated by MS windows? Didn't think so, but thanks for playing anyways!

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