ZAP Acquires Interest in Company for Electric Wheel Motors
AC Transit Orders 8 More Fuel Cell Bus Systems, Options 13 More

Hitachi Planning to Commercialize its Next-Generation of Automotive Li-ion Batteries in 3-4 Years

Charge-discharge and power characteristics of a prototype 18 Ah Li-ion cell in a new elliptical format using the Mn-based cathode and new anode materials. Click to enlarge.

The Nikkei reported that Hitachi plans to commercialize automotive lithium-ion batteries featuring its next-generation materials for use in hybrid cars within the next three to four years.

As described in a set of presentations at the recent Advanced Automotive Batteries Conference (AABC), Hitachi is developing manganese-based cathode materials and a new surface-modified graphite anode material (SMG) using a combination of amorphous carbon and Hitachi’s patented MAG artificial graphite.

In 2004, Hitachi, Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery Co. Ltd. and Hitachi Maxwell Ltd. formed a joint venture—Hitachi Vehicle Energy Ltd. (HVE) — to develop, manufacture and market rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles and other applications. HVE will supply the Li-ion storage for the next-generation of GM’s Hybrid System (the Belt Alternator Starter system, not the two-mode). (Earlier post.)

In January, the HVE partners injected ¥6 billion (US$58 million) to the JV company to strengthen its production and development capabilities.

LiMn2O4 (LMO) cathode materials offer high power and a lower cost per kg, but not per Wh. Life at elevated temperatures can be problematic. However, according to Dr. Menahem Anderman, president of Advanced Automotive Batteries, the manganese-based materials (LMO and NMC, LiNiCoMnO2) are becoming the most popular cathode materials today and offer good synergy between the components.

A number of other companies have LMO or NMC cathode materials in place or under development, including Panasonic, AESC, Sanyo, GS Yuasa, LG Chem, Samsung, SK Corp, Toshiba, EnerDel, and AltairNano.

Hitachi is focusing on the anode to further improve energy densities as well as power densities. Hitachi’s current Li-ion artificial graphite anode material, MAG, offers a particular particle shape and pore size than enables the high speed insertion and diffusion of lithium ions.

However, noted Tatsuya Nishida, who is responsible for anode material R&D at Hitachi Chemical Company, MAG can exhibit poor cycle and power down capabilities. The conversion to amorphous carbon on the surface of MAG is designed as a countermeasure.

Expected effects from the SMG material include:

  • Less SEI (solid electrolyte interface) formation, which improves power output and input;

  • Improved stability for the electrolyte solvent, which improves life (cycle and storage); and

  • Less lithium metal deposition, which improves safety.

Hitachi Vehicle Energy has developed an 18 Ah prototype elliptical cell and a 4-cell module designed for application in a fuel cell hybrid vehicle using current versions of the new materials. The module, with an operating voltage of 14.4V, has a specific energy density of 80 Wh/kg and volumetric energy density of 125 Wh/L.

Specific power output @ 50% SOC is 2,400 W/kg and specific power input @ 50% SOC is 2,120 W/kg, said Tatsuo Horiba, Chief Engineer for HVE. A mock-up of a 3 kWh pack based on the new modules yielded a calculated specific energy of 75 Wh/kg, and specific power output @ 50% SOC of 2,250 W/kg.



3-4 years? Get out.


Many people are ready for BEVs right now; let's get the batteries on the road and quit wasting time continuing to build the inefficient ICEs.

It says "magnesium-based cathode materials" referencing LiMn2O4 (LMO) cathode materials.
It's incorrect, Mn is symbol for Manganese, and Mg is for Magnesium.
Recently I noticed the same typo in a similar article on this site.


Yeah. Can't they do it on MY timetable?? I want what I want, now!


corrected. thank you.


This chemistry is old news.

People have been using this chemistry for years!!!
It started commerical use in 2005

It still does not solve the cycle life problem.

These lipos die after a couple of years of use.

Lithium IRON or Lithium Titinate is THE chemistry for cycle life.

All else is promo

Perhaps most people will have to keep a car for 10 to 12 years and instead just get new battery packs instead ?


the last time I said that PHEV will be only 15% of car sales 15 years from now I was almost insulted as a doomer etc... be realistic guys we are starting fom zero on PHEV, EV, the ICE has 100 years of industrial production and still quite some margin for improvment, a transition from ICE to PHEV or EV will happen but will take time, it will take 10 years for PHEV to reach 3% of cara sales and then grow at a pace of 10% a year in the best case, that is the lead time for such a transition, like it or not.


Treehugger is right. Look how long it took switch from gas to electric lighting. Or even to switch from LPs to CDs. Manufacturers will tweak ICE vehicles for the next several years; they will garner considerable improvements and efficiencies out of them. ICE vehicles will continue to be the mainstay of transportation through 2020.

Of course I hope I'm wrong.


I think EV's will be mainstream once the price comes down. Even if batteries have to be replaced, as long as they are affordable, like say changing the alternator or the AC compressor, they will be met with enthusiasm. I can't wait to get one. I just don't want an ugly one. A car is still a representation of one's personality, it isn't like a tooth brush that nobody is going see, it reflects one's personality, and I want a nice looking one, not a toy.



USA went to 3% hybrids in about 4 years. Fuel at $8 or $10/gal could triple the transition speed to hybrids, PHEVs and BEVs.

The problem may be vehicle availability and battery price. If only our Big-3 would change their stubborn ways and do like Toyota and start producing hybridized and EV units, it would help.

Chinese car and battery manufacturers may come to our rescue and solve the availability problem. If they don't, oil at $200+/barrel may also do it, but it would really hurt.

I drive to work 40 miles round trip, all I want is a EV that will get 100mpc and do 50mph and cost 15k to 20k and guess what they could have had them on the road 10 years ago. Wake the hell up people oil is'nt going to get cheap again it's only going up, you want a car that looks pretty ? that sits in the driveway why you look at it from work window because you can't afford to drive it to work or and ugly one that does the job of getting you from point A to point B and back again cheap so you can still work and buy food and LIVE ?

The higher oil goes the higher the chance of a depression, the ICE should have been phased out sometime in the 80's but we didnt learn from the 70's oil crisis, now we all will feel the pain for it and even if they started to mass produce EV and PHEV there is going to be alot of pain in the years to come with alot of people dying there is no way around it people so get prepared for the worse.



HEV were introduced in 2007 on the market, they have alread more than 10 yeas of history and are 3% of sales today, 3% of sales means 0.05% of the fleet. PHEV will follow the same figure. Keep in mind that 1 Millions cas represent 0.5% of the fleet. HEV will only achieve 1 millions car sales / years 2 to 3 years from now so 15 years after their introduction.

Be realistic

Actually 1 million cars will turn into 1% because less people will be driving a car because they cant afford one and they will be using public transportation. So the America car fleet will be going down in size over the next 10 years, but then will start to increase once EV's are mass produce and prices come down to buy them.


75wh/Kg ? That is terrible. They might be OK for a hybrid, but not for a BEV.


"public transportation"?

Here you'd get mugged or murdered. I'll have my BEV, please.

stas peterson

@ treehugger,

I usually agree with your rational perspectives. If hybrids produced only comparable mileage to more advanced and efficient ICE designs, then I would agree with your analysis.

Ordinarily, I would agree that market acceptance of electrified alternatives will take a longer time to penetrate, but for a couple of important considerations.

Any novel technology needs a pioneer to prove its reality. The pioneering work has been done for over ten years by Toyota, to prove the viability of hybrids. The viability has now been established, reasuring the prudent buyer.

All the manufacturers are bringing electrified auto designs to market. That will automatically generate a quantum jump in sales in the next few years, with so many more choices.

But the real reason that I beleive you underestimate market penetration is, simply, cost.

From an engineering perspective, an E-REV drivetrain, and even more so a BEV drivetrain, is intrinsically much cheaper to manufacture, than a fossil fuel alternative.

Costs must certainly be amortized; but very soon electric autos will be cheaper, both to operate: $0.75 cents per gallon compared to $4.00 per gallon. But in addition, capital costs (i.e. purchase prices) will soon be less for a E-REVs and BEVs.

Batteries lend themselves to rapid and complete automation. Component chemical costs for Li-Ion are low. Only cobalt is an expenive component, and those designs are being rejected for thermal runaway considerations. Automotive Battery costs are currently high due:

a)to design and development costs; and
b) to lack of automation for such battery manufacture.

Most automotive batteries are produced using a largely manual construction process. Therfore costs will decline precipitously, and quickly, when automated.

When it more inexpensive both to buy, and to operate, why would anyone NOT want to convert on their next purchase decision?

As a final kicker, electric drivetrains and vehicles will probably be longer lasting than ICE alternatives.



Glad that you agree with my post, to be honnest I don't agree (and don't like) with your politicaly oriented all nuclear and systematically global warming denial views.

The fast coming electrification of transportatiom you are talking about is pure fantasy. You said electric cars will be cheaper ? the battery are so expensive that it is a showstopper, plus there is still plenty of technical problem to solve. Prices will come down, sure, but not as fast as you think, because continuous R&D expenses will be necessary to improve the always unsufficient performances of the battreies. The poor energy density of battery would require 1000 pounds of battery to garantee 120 miles, then you would have to use light expensive material to decrease the weight of the car. On top of this vehicle wih 100 miles range will be always niche maket, when you pay 20 000$ you don;t exepect your vehiclee to limit your mobility with the constant stree of being stuck because you drove 10 miles too much.

People then will focus on PHEV but
The problem of the cost will be even more acute on PHEV due to the complexity of this architecture.

Maybe I underestimate the progress of electric car, but you underestimate the margin of progress of traditional ICEs.


A 120 mile range car at $20k will be a winner, range will be no problem as long as it can be recharged quickly.. the batteries exist but it will cost you.

5 years ago the batteries did not exist, what will they have 5 years from now?

Mr Sheone

How did you get to be this good? Its amazing to see someone put so much passion into a subject. I'm glad I came across this.

The comments to this entry are closed.