Sony Corporation will invest approximately ¥40 billion (US$370 million) to strengthen its lithium-ion battery production operations, targeted on portable consumer applications. The company, unlike its competition, is currently steering clear of the lithium-ion automotive market.
“We will conduct research and development, but have not decided anything beyond that,” Sony President Ryoji Chubachi said, commenting on the company’s approach to vehicle-use lithium ion batteries.
Sony is reluctant to make a full commitment to the development of car-use lithium ion batteries because it wants to avoid taking on high levels of risk. The company, however, will likely remain on the lookout for the perfect opportunity to expand into the vehicle-use lithium ion battery business as it taps growing demand for the batteries from consumer electronics makers.
The investment will be used to construct new production facilities as well as enhance existing lines at Motomiya Technology Center and Tochigi Technology Center of Sony Energy Device Corporation, Sony’s lithium ion battery production sites in Japan. With Sony also expanding lithium-ion battery production in Singapore and China, its monthly production capacity will increase from the current level of 41 million cells per month to 74 million cells in 2010.