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Nikkei: Panasonic considering making Li-ion automotive batteries in China to meet customer needs

The Nikkei reports that Panasonic Corp. is considering expanding production of lithium ion batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles to China.

The electronics manufacturer has been making automotive lithium ion batteries solely at its Kasai and other Japanese plants. It has relied exclusively on domestic production because of the technological sophistication required in making the batteries, which need to be durable and offer higher capacities than lithium ion batteries used in personal computers, mobile phones and other devices.

With major customers such as Germany’s Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp. signaling plans to produce hybrids and EVs in China, Panasonic has decided to set up a supply system there.

According to the Nikkei, Panasonic is ranked first in the automotive Li-ion market, and has a 20-plus percent share of the total global market for all types of lithium-ion batteries.

Comments

Davemart

I can't see how Panasonic are number one for automotive Li-on batteries.
Both AESC, Nissan's supplier and LG, the Volt and others supplier should be ahead of them.
Panasonic are number one in all Li-on batteries through their 18650 commodity offerings, but surely not for automotive use.

Arne

Davemart,

Do not forget Tesla. They rely exclusively on Panasonic 18650 cells. Through their joint ventures with Toyota and Mercedes, they supply them with packs for the Rav4 EV and Smart ED too.

HarveyD

Panasonic is one of the top battery manufacturer in the world. It is a wise decision to open factories in China and India for export markets and to satisfy local markets, where an increasing high percentage of the world's BEVs will be in the very near future. With fierce competition coming,lower manufacturing cost is a must.

Davemart

@Anne:
I didn't forget about Tesla, but we are talking about sales to date, which are only around 2,000 + for Tesla, and none at all for the others you mention, so they are not very significant and certainly not enough to make Panasonic number one in car batteries.

SJC

I tend to agree with Davemart, but I do not have the data. I would say that they sell a lot of the cylindrical format but I am not sure about how strong they are in prismatic batteries compared to others.

Engineer-Poet

Locating in China means theft of their production techniques by Chinese spies. That's a great way to lose their competitive advantage in batteries, and possibly sink the company in the long term.

Bad idea. Produce in Japan, benefit Tokyo not Beijing. And I wish my government would get a clue about this.

SJC

It was tough to see Ener1 go through trouble, but their investment in Th!nk probably sunk them. That was a business case example of what not to do. Do not invest in your customers when you are just getting started.

HarveyD

E-P...to survive, manufacturers with international market, cannot ignore fast growing markets like China, India and Brazil. Japan, EU and USA can no longer export their overly high priced manufactured goods to those three very large countries. Re-locating many of their factories to those countries like GM, Ford, WV, Mercedes, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, etc have already done will continue, until such time as it is no longer economically advantageous to do so. That's what freedom, free enterprise and free trade is all about.

Engineer-Poet

To survive, manufacturers have to avoid paying to develop IP and handing it to competitors for free; this goes double for competitors with the favor of the government, who will then get preferred or even exclusive access to that very "giant market" and use it to subsidize sales to the rest of the world. That is what most companies manufacturing (not just assembling) in China have done, and it will

Engineer-Poet

... wind up killing many of them and shrinking the profits and employment at many more.

There is no such thing as free trade with China.

SJC

It started with building Jeeps there, if they wanted access to the market, they had to give up what they knew about building vehicles.

The original idea was to sell Coke to one billion Chinese and the reality decades later is they eat your lunch and don't even invite you in for a bite.

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