New Energy Vehicle Demand Expands Global Automotive Battery Investment Craze

With the continuous increase in the demand for new energy vehicles brought about by the soaring international oil prices, the on-board batteries, which are key components for new energy vehicles such as electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles, are receiving unprecedented attention from multinational auto giants and major battery manufacturers. Recently announced the investment plan and production schedule, set off a wave of car battery investment boom.

A new round of investment boom

Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., which has the world's largest market share in the field of lithium batteries, announced on May 28 that it will step up investment in research, development, and production of automotive lithium batteries and begin mass production in 2009. From the beginning of 2006, Sanyo teamed up with the German Volkswagen Group to develop a new generation of Ni-MH battery systems. Currently working with Volkswagen AG in Germany to develop large-capacity lithium batteries specifically for hybrid vehicles, and preparing to officially invest in the use of eco-friendly cars in 2012. At present, the battery has entered the trial production stage, and the main task in the future will be to further improve its safety performance and other quality assurance factors. It is reported that Sanyo will invest a total of 80 billion yen in the next eight years, striving to make the new vehicle lithium battery capacity reach 10 million per month by 2015, to meet the demand of 1.7 million to 1.8 million hybrid vehicles, and will also be based on market demand. The trend is to consider the construction of a new vehicle lithium battery plant in 2010. Sanyo said it is confident that it will obtain lithium battery supply contracts for Honda, Ford and other automakers, as the two auto makers currently use nickel-metal hydride batteries provided by Sanyo.

In order to achieve the goal that the output of hybrid vehicles will reach one-tenth of its total global automobile output, Toyota Motor Corporation will join hands with Matsushita Electric Co., Ltd. to significantly increase the production of on-board batteries for hybrid vehicles and other environmentally-friendly models. Panasonic EV Energy (PEVE), which is jointly funded by Toyota and Panasonic, will build a new factory that will produce mainstream nickel-metal hydride batteries with an investment of approximately 30 billion yen. It is expected to be completed and put into production in 2011, and will produce approximately 300,000 vehicles each year. battery. At the same time, Toyota is also accelerating research and development of lithium-ion battery technology. PEVE will invest in a new plant for the production of next-generation lithium-ion batteries at its existing plant in Shizuoka Prefecture, and will strengthen nickel-metal hydride battery capacity at its existing plant. This series of production increase measures require a total investment of approximately 70 billion yen. In the future, PEVE's vehicle battery capacity is expected to double, from about 500,000 in 2007 to 1 million in 2011.

In order to catch up with Toyota's pace, Nissan and NEC also started to work together to produce vehicle-mounted batteries. Nissan and NEC will jointly spend 20 billion yen (approximately 194 million U.S. dollars), and will produce lithium-ion batteries for environmentally friendly vehicles such as hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles for the first time in the world. The new joint venture plant will be officially put into operation in early 2009. The initial stage of lithium battery production will provide 10,000 hybrid or electric vehicles, and future production will increase by five times. Nissan began researching and developing vehicle-mounted lithium-ion batteries as early as 1992. In 2000, we started cooperation with NEC to jointly develop thin-film lithium-ion battery technology. In May of this year, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., a joint venture company of NEC and its subsidiary NEC Tokin, started full operation. At the same time, this lithium battery was supplied to Nissan and its French partner Renault. The two companies plan to launch electric cars in Japan and the United States starting in 2010.

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