Hitachi Combines Hitachi Maxell and Hitachi Vehicle Energy, Ltd. in New In-House Company Focused on Industrial Li-ion Batteries
Hitachi, Ltd. has established a new in-house company—the Battery Systems Company—to strengthen its battery business with a focus on the steadily growing lithium-ion battery market. The Battery Systems Company comprises two existing Hitachi companies: Hitachi Maxell, Ltd. and Hitachi Vehicle Energy, Ltd.
Hitachi Vehicle Energy Ltd. was formed in 2004 as a joint venture between Hitachi, Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery Co. Ltd. and Hitachi Maxwell Ltd. to develop, manufacture and market rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles and other applications. In January, HVE introduced new cells targeted at plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, a first for the Hitachi Group. (Earlier post.)
Hitachi will promote the Battery Solution Business, which includes systems for maintaining optimum control of battery recharging and discharging in large-scale industrial applications such as construction machinery and uninterruptible power supply (UPS), as well as smart grids and other future applications. This business will also include maintenance and other services related to the above applications.
Battery Systems Company will aim for revenues of ¥250 billion (US$2.7 billion) in fiscal 2014 in the battery business, with a particular focus on lithium-ion batteries.
With new applications arising in UPS, smart grids, and other fields, the lithium-ion battery market is expected to grow to a scale of about ¥4 trillion (US$43.8 billion )in 2018, Hitachi said.
The Battery Systems Company is intended to expand Hitachi’s battery cell sales, while also promoting the rollout of the Battery Solution business, which includes systems for maintaining optimum control of battery recharging and discharging, as well as maintenance and other related services.
In battery recharging/discharging control systems, Hitachi will utilize the control technologies cultivated within the Hitachi Group in a variety of business fields. At the same time, it will collaborate with Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery Co., Ltd., a group company currently involved in the lead rechargeable battery and lithium-ion battery businesses, in promoting batteries for large-scale industrial applications.
In May of this year, as part of efforts to strengthen the industrial battery business, Hitachi initiated a Group-wide development project with a view toward “smart cities,” and began development of cells and control platforms that can be used in common in a wide range of industrial applications. This project will be conducted over a period of three years, with a total investment of ¥5 billion (US$54.8 million).