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Report: Toyota and Matsushita Building Two Battery Plants

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.



The lithium battery plant will obviously not be built. Dr. Anderman said so!!

Harvey D

By 2011, the patent will be expired on NiMH and Toyota/Panasonic may manufacture as many as they like or require. Will Toyota give buyers an option between NiMH and Li-On or will they simply convert their plants to lithum based units three or four years latter? Toyota seems to play it safe with well proven NiMH as back-up?

Mass production of Li-On units by 2010 will correspond with the arrival of Toyota's PHEVs and improved Hybrids ++.

Can these Japanese factories compete with large Chinese battery factories such as BYD's?


"Can these Japanese factories compete with large Chinese battery factories such as BYD's?"

traditionally Japanese manufacturing has remained competitive due to very high levels of process automation (robots) and stringent quality control systems. i would expect this to apply to batteries as well.

John Taylor

Looks like Toyota will be offering battery options on it's 2011 lineup. Yeaaa!!!


Given a choice and track record of Chinese manufacturing - Japanese manufacturers will pay for Japanese quality. They have in the past and will in the future. But low cost LiIo batteries are necessary to launch EVs and provided western car makers offer full warranties (e.g. 10 years 150k miles) - most will be made in low cost countries.

Dan A

Japanese competitivness also probably is helped significantly by the chronically undervalued yen (the carry trade helped that alot).


"...annual production of such batteries to around 1 million units by 2011."

Okay, so we REALLY are electrifying transport. But no thanks to George Bush who has consistently tried to force his greedy ideas on the planet for nefarious purpose!! (inspite of Stas's rant)

Harvey D


High quality Toyota Prius, Buicks, + many others are being built in China.

BYD and other Chinese firms already build 70%+ of the world batteries.

A country that can build good cars + hybrids + batteries could certainly build future high quality PHEVs w/batteries.

Dan A:

The Chinese currency is also undervalued (at about 50% in 2006 USD) and it gives them an edge.

Will the USD finds itself in the same position within another 12 to 24 months? Whenever it reaches 2 USD for 1 Euro (by 2009/10?) that could make all 3 currencies (Japan-China-USA) about equally undervalued.

A strong widely accepted International currency may eventually be required to fix the proper exchange rates and handle International transactions. The Work Bank could do that.

Andrey Levin


ECD patents for use of NiMH batteries (which they invented) in hybrid vehicles does not limit production quantity of automotive batteries (and their size, for that matter). The only difference expiration of ECD patents will be that seller of hybrid vehicles in US (such ECD patents are limited to US only) will not be required to pay about 60$ royalty per vehicle to ECD. Meanwhile, ECD is using this money to R&D in phase change computer memory, hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen storage, new battery chemistry (spinel chemicals), advanced photovoltaics, and for mass production of amorphous silicon solar panels.

Harvey D


Thank you for the additional info on NiMH patents & royalties.

Wonder if the same situation will prevail with Li-On?

Andrey Levin


Market of Li-based batteries is much more diverse (both chemistry and manufacturing methods) than for NiMH, and will not be dominated by handful of patents and companies. Any way, lead times for battery R&D is so long, that any company with useful battery technology will do everything to widespread their technology, beat the competitors, and cash-in during short time their patents will be still valid. Small royalties multiplied by high production volume (by aggressive licensing of manufacturing to outside producers) is more profitable strategy than limited production and artificial high prices.


I expect to see more announcements like this. Battery production will grow swiftly, hopefully bringing down costs significantly enough to make EV conversions of vehicles already on the road affordable. As oil supplies get tighter, and we move to the downslope, developments like this are likely, if not inevitable.

I'm looking for a way to electrify my own transportation in some small way in short order.

Any more news on Dr. Yi Cui (Standford U) silicon nanowires anodes with a potential 10x energy storage density?

Did he find matching cathode materials and put together a workable battery proto type?

Is something close to 1000 Wh/Kg, a long term (5 to 10 years) energy density possibility? If so, most ICE machines and vehicles will definately be phased out.

Will large corporations such as Toyota, Toshiba, Sanyo, BYD, NEC, etc beat Universities to it?


I do think that within ten years we'll have in production batteries based on supercapcitor technology that will store way more than even Li-On batteries but charge in a tiny fraction of the time of Li-On batteries. That will finally make it possible for a 4-5 passenger electric car with a range of 400 km (248 miles) that will spell the end of most ICE-powered vehicles.


Raymond, there are already lithium-ion battery electric vehicles with that range per charge.

The Altair lithium-titanate batteries can recharge from empty to full in 10 minutes, so not much a capacitor could improve on from there.


Another existing alternative is the Electrovaya 330 Wh/Kg battery and more so the upcoming 450 Wh/Kg version.

With that level of energy density, 400 to 500 Km range with a BEV is a definate possibility.

Unfortunately, most very high energy density batteries take much longer to charge/discharge if you want to make them last longer. Supercaps combo could fill in, specially to recouperate more breaking energy and supply the energy burst required for quick accellerations + to extend batteries life + reduce the size of the batteries required.

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