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Honda and GS Yuasa to Form Joint Venture for Li-ion Batteries for Hybrids

The new join venture will work from the basis of the GS Yuasa EH6 power cell. Click to enlarge.

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and GS Yuasa have agreed to establish a joint venture company which will manufacture, sell and conduct R&D for high-power lithium-ion batteries with a central focus on applications in hybrid electric vehicles. The two companies aim to establish the new company sometime around spring 2009. This will be GS Yuasa’s second Li-ion joint venture with a major automaker.

The new company will manufacture batteries based on GS Yuasa’s 6Ah-class prismatic Li-ion EH6 cell. The new venture will explore modifying the cathode materials and cell structure to optimize performance for next-generation hybrid vehicles.

Boost and regen characteristics of the EH6 cell as a function of SOC at 25° C. Click to enlarge.

The EH6, which Masanori Kitamura from GS Yuasa presented at AABC 2008 earlier this year, is a 3.7V, 6Ah cell with a LiNiCoMnO2 cathode and carbon anode. Specific energy for the cell is 67.1 Wh·kg-1, and volumetric energy density is 114.3 Wh·L-1.

The cell can provide 10 seconds of boost power at 50% SOC of 1.2 kW (3,600 W·kg

at 25° C. One second assist and regenerative power in the 20-70% SOC range is 1 kW.

GS Yuasa will hold 51% of the new venture, and Honda 49%. The headquarters of the new company is planned to be located in Minami-ku, Kyoto, and the factory is planned to be established within the property of GS Yuasa’s Osadano operation in Fukuchiyama, Kyoto.

In 2007, GS Yuasa Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) officially launched a joint venture—Lithium Energy Japan (LEJ)—to manufacture large-capacity and high-performance lithium-ion batteries targeted for EVs. (Earlier post.) GS Yuasa is also the majority shareholder in that JV with 51%; MC holds 34% and MMC holds the remaining 15%. Initial production is targeted at 200,000 cells in fiscal year 2009.

The basic LEJ cell is the 50Ah-class 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.



Nice to see Honda getting on the electric band wagon. I was beginning to doubt their sanity with all that hydrogen fuel cell BS they were promoting. I wish this were an announcement about advanced lead-acid batteries, so that we could be sure that an affordable electric car was on the way.


On Nov 2nd 2008 it was announced (and reported here at GCC) that Sanyo would be taken over by Panasonic ( Toyota's NiMH supplier for the Prius ) Honda has therefore needed to find a more independent partner. Yuasa may not be a familiar name to some readers but they have been established in the battery business for some time. This will be a good fit.

The 6AH Li-ion battery mentioned compares in capacity with the 6.5AH used in the Prius model. I was interested to learn, from info gathered from the Volt development program, that variance of the electrode surface composition can tradeoff power density with energy density.


This seems the way to go for every major car manufacturer, except the Big-3. Why?

With todays much improved electronic battery management system, would it be possible to combine a power predominant pack with an energy density predominat pack without the use of super caps?

It seems that the ideal combination would offer:

a) quicker accelleration + maximized braking energy recuperation from the predominat power unit.

b) long e-distances from the predominant energy density unit.

c) potentially longer e- range and longer battery life.

Has this been tried?


GS Yuasa is well positioned in the battery game. It has some good partners with Auto makers. It can either build up its own capacity, or purchase capacity in China.


The chart labels for the 1-second regenerative power and the 1-second assist power curves versus SOC should be switched. Otherwise, the shapes are inconsistent with their respective 10-second curves. Informative curves, though.



I have been toying with the idea of combination packs. I came to the conclusion it depends on the application and the materials you have available.

If you are looking at a short range electric vehicle with high power. High power chemistry is the only way to go. a 10KWh pack needs to deliver 5C-8C to give you meaningful power.

With a long range vehicle you can go with a high energy chemistry. With a 50KWh pack. Even if it only delivers 2C, you have 80KW power at your disposal.

If you have something in between it's best to source for a single chemistry that gives a balance of power and energy.

If you have an outstanding energy density with appalling power performance e.g. some polymer batts, there is a case to couple with a good power batt e.g. altair, for a long range high performance EV.


Correction - 50KWh pack @ 2C = 100KW power.


How many times have we read Honda saying battery EVs are never going to work???

Now they're following the same route as all other Auto makers getting into EVs by establishing a battery joint venture.

Someone should tell James May that the Fuel Cell Honda is just a PR gimmick.


Honda are NOT venturing into the EV market (or even development) with these batteries.

These are short-burst power optimised batteries for hybrids only. The high power density and wide SOC utilisation means that Honda can build a 15 kW peak output battery (consistent with their IMA requirements) with just 4.3 kg of these new batteries, compared to 30 kg of NiMH modules in the current Prius.

The whole aim is to have a CHEAP, compact, lightweight battery to make the IMA system cheaper still.


The fact of the matter is by the time you add the crash box and colling system and all that a 100 hw/kg cell becomes a 30 wh/kg pack. And that means a 30 kwh pack will weigh 1 metric ton.

Meanwhile a 200 kwh fuel cell system complete with the fuel cell itself of say 120 kw output... will weigh about 120 kg for the tank and anouther 250 or so for everything else.

But a 400 kwh system will weigh just 120 more kg. Meanwhile a 400 kwh battery would weigh more then a mac truck.

And again the fuel doesnt cost all that much and the fuel cells no longer cost huge amounts.

Soon the fuel cell will dip below 20-30 grand each.. less then many high end engines and transmissions.

Then 5-10 years later.. say by 2030 the fuel cell should be CHEAPER then fossil fueled systems of that time frame. The fuel certainly will be.

Carlos Fandango

Just consider the daily distance travelled is less than 100 miles in the vast majority of cases.

Assuming a home location re-charge. A 100 mile range BEV can fulfill 85% of all driving needs. A 25KWh BEV in 5-10 years time will be no heavier than todays equivalent ICE. Cost and performance will be competetive.

The remaining 15% of driving requirements can mostly be fullfilled by suitable public recharge facilities. Yes!.. there are cases where user requirements cannot be met satisfactorily. But it's a low number and not the death knell of BEV's as many presume. Many of these cases could be sales reps or ultra long commuters where a good bio-diesel is appropriate.

So where does that leave range extended electric cars? They are rarely needed! PHEV's will eventually be a niche requirement.

As charging infrastructure develops and more EV's are adopted, gas stations will start closing. Making liquid fuel less convenient. Breakthrough fast charge capability and/or high energy storage is a killer disruptive technology.

I don't even want to start on Hydrogen. James May (and Clarkson) are starting to looks like riduculous antique clowns.


Not a snowballs chance in hell of that realy. They have done enough studies and such to know these short range ev cars arnt anything but a niche for most parts of the world and where they might fill in a serious segment.. the cars are bloody cheap already and thus not worth getting into.

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