The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. intend to build two plants for automotive batteries: one for NiMH cells, the other for Li-ion cells.
The companies seek to lift annual production of such batteries to around 1 million units by 2011. Panasonic EV Energy Co., a joint venture between Toyota and Matsushita, will build the plants. Total spending on the boost to production will be about 70 billion yen [US$673 million].
Around 30 billion yen will be spent to build a nickel metal-hydride battery plant in Taiwa, Miyagi Prefecture, that will come onstream as soon as 2011. The plant is likely to make around 300,000 of the batteries a year...A lithium ion battery plant is also to be built at an existing facility in Kosai, Shizuoka Prefecture. Production will kick off by 2010, starting at tens of thousands of units a year. The plant is seen costing about 10 billion yen.
The Li-ion cells reportedly are targeted for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
In addition, the companies are spending about 30 billion yen to push ahead with ramping up output of nickel metal-hydride batteries at the existing Kosai facility. By adding the plants as well as new infrastructure, Panasonic EV’s battery production, which amounted to roughly 500,000 units last year, will be doubled.