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NEC, Sanyo make Li-ion batteries for 'green' cars

Posted: 19 May 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Li-ion batteries? green cars? hybrid electric vehicle?

A Japanese newspaper last week reported that Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd and NEC Corp. have entered separate partnerships with carmakers for the manufacture of Li-ion batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Sanyo Electric is collaborating with Germany's Volkswagen AG on a Li-ion battery that will be smaller than a nickel-hydrogen battery, according to a Nikkei report that cited company sources. This will enable the design of cars that are lighter than those using conventional batteries, the report said. Volkswagen is reportedly looking at importing the battery by 2012.

Sanyo-made nickel-hydrogen batteries will be also used by Audi AG, a Volkswagen subsidiary, in the Volkswagen group's first hybrid vehicle, expected to be unveiled next year. Sanyo and Volkswagen have likewise agreed in 2006 to co-develop nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries for hybrid electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, NEC Corp. has agreed with Nissan Motor Co. to start mass-producing Li-ion batteries. The two Japanese companies are investing $194 million for the construction of a plant in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, according to the Nikkei report.

Production is slated for early next year under Automotive Energy Supply Corp. (AESC), a joint venture put up by Nissan and NEC in 2007. AESC will initially manufacture Li-ion batteries enough for 10,000 electric vehicles and may eventually ramp up production by six-fold. AESC is also shipping batteries to Nissan's French partner, Renault SA. Electric cars from Nissan and Renault could roll out in the Japanese and U.S. markets starting 2010.

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