Hitachi, Japan’s largest industrial electronics manufacturer, is devoting significant resources to capture the global car battery market. Already, they are able to boast of the 100,000 hybrid car order that GM has placed for its lithium-ion batteries. But, of course, that is not enough. The Tokyo-based corporation is ramping up its capacity in order to accommodate the needs of 700,000 electric vehicles a year, a gain of 600%.
The Nikkei Business Daily has estimated the expansion costs at between $200 and $300 million. The completion date would be somewhere around 2015, a time when many more plug-in models are set to hit the road. The announcement is probably designed to instill confidence in electric-car manufacturers that Hitachi is taking its battery division seriously and will be ready and able to meet future demand.
The company plans on producing two new types of lithium-ion batteries for “next-generation” hybrid vehicles. The design changes will reflect the industry goal of increased power storage with a reduction in weight and size. And with many adept battery manufacturers all clamoring for the reputation of providing high quality at a discounted price, the increased production is sure to provide Hitachi with the logistical and engineering experience necessary to emerge as a leader.
Hitachi’s other clients for lithium-ion batteries include Isuzu Motors and Mitsubishi. They are targeting sales of $1.04 billion by the year 2015 — when global sales of electric-car batteries are expected to surpass $6 billion, according to Nikkei.