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GS Yuasa, Mitsubishi and Mitsubishi Motors Launch JV for Large Li-Ion Batteries

GS Yuasa Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) officially launched a joint venture—Lithium Energy Japan—to manufacture large-capacity and high-performance lithium-ion batteries. The three companies began collaboration on the project last May. (Earlier post.)

Battery-maker GS Yuasa will be the majority shareholder with 51%; MC will hold 34% and MMC will hold the remaining 15%. Initial production is targeted at 200,000 cells in fiscal year 2009.

The basic cell is the LEV50—based on GS Yuasa’s LIM series of Li-ion batteries, but with modifications in cell-structure and electrode materials to deliver improved energy and power densities.

The LEV50 is a 3.7V, 50Ah cell that weighs 1.7 kg and has a volume of .85L, yielding a nominal 109 Wh/kg or 218 Wh/L. The basic module is the four-cell LEV50-4.



I wonder how much improvement they managed to get. The LEV50 numbers aren't exactly overwhelming. Hopefully they will be good enough for a solid 100 mile range in the i-MiEV.


So that is (200,000*50*3.7)/1000 = 37,000 kWh of batteries in the first year. Enough for 1,850 small EVs assuming 20 kWh per car. This is a good start.



For safe and durable automotive grade lithium batteries 109 Wh/kg is very good and on par with A123. Everybody else is below 90 Wh/kg for such batteries as far as I know.


Once the big boys get in there and develop a market for large Li cells, the whole thing will develop.

The cars will get better - increasing demand etc. etc.
They would be nice for ebikes or e-scooters as well as cars.


Last i read, i-MiEV, essentially using the same batteries ( there are articles on google news with pictures of its batteries including model ) achieved 120 miles, not 100.


No match for Electrovaya manganese series at 330 Wh/kg if their safety and longevity claims add up.


Sounds like we are very close to BEVs.
If someone could come up with a small generator capable of say 5 or 10 KW for a couple of hours you could convert BEVs to serial PHEVs.
[ We could call it a mPHEV ]
The main thing would be to give "comfort" to BEV owners that they could, if they needed to, go on a long run.
The mPHEV wouldn't be as nice as a proper PHEV, but could be much cheaper and modular.

Also, once you had PHEV capability, you can reduce the E only range, and make the car cheaper and lighter.

The trick is to get a "power cube" that can be stuck into cars in a consistent manner (a standard mechanical and electrical interface) and the ability to interface to the car controller easily.
[ Or maybe not - just let the user turn the power cube on as required when the charge gets low ]

Harvey D


Somebody (in India) is trying to do what you mentioned, to come up with a very low price, reduced performance (adaptive) PHEV.

It seems that they are still looking for very low price battery packs with acceptable all around performance.


Mitsubishi (MMC) has been running TV advertisements in Japan saying that the i-MIEV electric vehicle using Li-on batteries will be available and starting production by the 2010.

Ian Ward

The LEV50 is actually 8.5 liters, not .85 liters.

Craig Bartle

Ian 850,092mm^3 equals 850mL or 0.85L. They were right.


Thanks Henrik, I was thinking 300wh/kg was the number people have stated would really help electric cars be more viable. According to Clett's comment, Electrovaya has reached that. I see from their website they are claiming 470wh/liter for their SuperPolymer lithium ion batteries and I've found press releases saying they launched the 330 Wh/kg, 675wh/liter (last January) that Clett mentioned, but not much concrete evidence of it. Of course, energy density is only one of several measures of a battery.....



Yes, the Electrovaya is 330 Wh/kg, 675W/liter but I am almost 100% certain it can’t do 3000 deep cycles. They would brag about it if that was the case and I am equally certain it is not as safe either as the LiFePO4 chemistry that A123 uses. For comparison the A123 M1 is about 110Wh/kg, and it has a pulse power of about 5000W/liter! EVs are viable with anything above 70Wh/kg. And with +3000 cycles another viability hurdle is gone. They still need to test for real world calendar life of 10 years with temperature and pressure changes and vibrations and chocks but it is almost a formality now. The only real hurdle left is price. For anybody thinking that EVs will be cheap to begin with forget about it. Even the small EVs with lithium batteries will be expensive. The next 10 years demand will be so high for automotive grade lithium batteries that the manufactories will be able to charge minimum $1000 per kWh almost regardless of their production costs. The photovoltaic industry is in a similar situation that prices continue to be high because of explosive demand regardless of falling production cost. This high price will also be the case for the GM volt and this is why I think they will downsize the 16kWh battery in the final version. Or it will be sold in two versions a 8kWh version and a 16kWh version for those who will pay 8k extra for that option.

PS - Electrovaya is not the record keeper for Wh/kg it is Sion Power with their Li-S batteries that does 350Wh/kg. They even have a 600 Wh/kg under development.




Sion have been struggling with cycle life and safety for years though. If they cracked these issues (with eg a nanotech or new separator approach??), the Li-S couple would thrash every other chemistry.

Incidentally, Polyplus also have a lithium-air battery in development, with a theoretical energy density of 11,600 Wh/kg!!


Sion needs to update their webpage. I thought they went bankrupt but I found some articles on them from September of this year.


From the Polyplus website.
"The projected energy density and specific energy for Li-Air batteries is on
the order of 1000 Wh/l and 1000 Wh/kg."
Now THAT should impress.



Thank you for that info on PolyPlus. I did not know. It is exciting that they are working on that high energy density. The battery Sion makes is close to facilitate a solar powered unmanned surveillance plane that flies for month’s non-stop. If they can just to 700 kWh /kilo in a stable battery the US army will get a really useful new airplane. But there will be many other applications even at very high price levels.


"The LEV50 is a 3.7V, 50Ah cell that weighs 1.7 kg and has a volume of .85L, yielding a nominal 109 Wh/kg or 218 Wh/L. "

This is a cell - by the time you have a pack with all of the thermal amangemetn electronics, you will be down to 70 - 80Wh/kg. NiMH territory.

LiS - poor cycle life. 400 100% DoD cycles at most at the 350Wh/kg level. Fine for military UAVs where cost is immaterial.

Polyplus - not rechargeable. It's a fuel cell. Lithium metal anodes in cars is a complete safety non-starter, except maybe in the LiS but that does not have the cycle life. Polyplus gave up on it.

Anybody got anything definitive on this Cobasys stranglehold on NiMH greater than 10Ah?

That is where energy needs to be focused - getting NiMH out there. And on the other proven battery technologies like Zebra, 120Wh/kg in the complete battery pack today using cheap abundant materials.

Here we are waiting for LiIon when the EV1 had 100 miles plus over 5 years ago.

We are in reverse gear.

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