Sanyo in talks with car makers on batteries

OSAKA, Japan - Sanyo Electric Co Ltd the world's largest rechargeable battery maker, said on Friday it was in talks with major car makers in Europe, the United States and Japan on the supply of auto-use batteries.

By (Reuters)

Published: Fri 22 Aug 2008, 3:05 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:56 AM

Automotive batteries are expected to be a market with huge growth potential for suppliers of rechargeable batteries such as Sanyo as higher oil prices and growing concerns over climate change prompt car makers to expedite a shift to battery-driven vehicles.

Sanyo said it plans to boost its lithium-ion battery output capacity to above 100 million cells a month by the year ending in March 2011, up from a planned 90 million units in the year starting next April, to defend its No.1 position from Sony Corp and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd.

‘We are talking with more than five or six car makers,’on the co-development and supply of auto-use batteries, Sanyo Electric Senior Vice President Masato Ito told Reuters in an interview.

Ito heads Sanyo's rechargeable battery operations, which are the electronics maker's cash cow business.

Sanyo and Volkswagen AG have been jointly developing auto-use lithium-ion batteries in an intensifying race to provide the key component for the next generation of hybrid cars.

In its non-auto use lithium-ion batteries that go into such devices as PCs cellphones, Sanyo's monthly output capacity will exceed 100 million cells in the year starting in April 2010, keeping a safe lead against its smaller rivals, Ito said.

Sony will spend 40 billion yen ($367.4 million) to boost its production capacity for lithium-ion batteries by 80 percent by 2010, while Matsushita plans to invest 100 billion yen to build a new lithium-ion battery plant in Osaka to meet robust global demand.

‘By the time Matsushita has raised its capacity to 75 million, ours will be well over 100 million,’ Ito said.

Shares in Sanyo closed up 0.5 percent at 221 yen, outperforming the Tokyo stock market's electrical machinery index IELEC.which fell 0.6 percent.

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