Panasonic to boost Li-ion battery output in China; looking for reductions in manufacturing expenses
22 April 2011
The Nikkei reports that Panasonic Corp. will ramping up lithium-ion battery output in lower-cost China to reduce manufacturing expenses as much as 30%.
Panasonic hopes to retain the top position in the global market through cost cuts. Japanese companies once enjoyed an edge in development and mass production of these batteries, which are used to power mobile phones, laptop computers and other products. But with South Korean rivals now quickly catching up, Panasonic has decided to rely more on Chinese production as a way to stay on top.
Panasonic and Sanyo Electric Co., which became a 100% unit on April 1, had a combined 26% share of the worldwide lithium ion battery market in 2010. Panasonic plans to invest 20–30 billion yen [US$244–366 million] through 2012 to lift Chinese output by constructing a new plant and upgrading existing facilities there.
Panasonic currently has an output capacity of 120 million units per month, of which 80-90% are produced in Japan and the rest in China. Panasonic hopes to lift Chinas share to around 50% by 2015, according to the report. It aims to roughly triple sales of lithium ion batteries, including those for automobiles, from the fiscal 2009 level to 1 trillion yen (US$12.2 billion).
This is a wise and sound decision. Latest studies claimed that by 2020, 60% of all electrified vehicles will be in China. That is the place to build battery and EV factories.
Posted by: HarveyD | 22 April 2011 at 12:13 PM
I wish they would go with a larger format battery for the EV market. It would be nice to put together a pack without having to wire 8000+ batteries together.
But they have a great chemistry with their latest batteries and the drop in price will be very important regardless of format.
Posted by: DaveD | 23 April 2011 at 07:45 AM
A standardized plug-in module (1 Kwh to 4 Kwh per module) would benefit all potential buyers. Electrified vehicles buyers could buy or rent as many modules as they require or could afford. More modules could be added at a latter date when the price is lower and performance is better.
The world price of mass produced standardized battery modules would drop quick. Manufacturers would develop higher performance lower price modules to corner the market.
Posted by: HarveyD | 23 April 2011 at 08:34 AM
The "wiring" is no problem at all. I've designed battery packages with 18650 cells comprised of 24 to 30 cells per module without a single wire connection. Connection of those modules amongst each other is limited to two wired connections each. All other internal connections are via bus bars with standardized parts. A single damaged cell can be easily replaced / removed; damage diagnosis is much more difficult.
Posted by: yoatmon | 23 April 2011 at 12:26 PM
The 30% reduction in cost is good news for future electrified vehicles.
Increased mass production and world wide competition should soon offer another 30%.
The next challenge would be to increase performance at the same rate.
Posted by: HarveyD | 25 April 2011 at 09:11 AM