Sanyo Electric Co. will invest about $180 million (15 billion yen) in a key plant in order to increase its annual output capacity for automotive lithium-ion batteries by 150%, according to a report from the Nikkei business newspaper.
It was also reported that batteries for plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles will be built in Sanyo's production lines at the Kasai plant in Hyogyo Prefecture, which in 2011 will double to four lines. The business daily also said that the company manufactures lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles from the Volkswagen AG.
Nikkei said that by raising capacity, Sanyo intends to use the plant as its main supply base for three automakers. This plant is already one of those that have the highest production capacity in the world for automotive lithium-ion batteries.
The daily said that Panasonic Corp., which is expected to convert Sanyo into a wholly owned unit next spring, is seeking to put automotive lithium-ion batteries as a pillar of its group operations.
Tokyo firm Techno Systems Research Co. had recorded that with a combined share of 26%, Sanyo and Panasonic were the leaders in the global market for cellular phone lithium-ion batteries from July to September.
The team is expanding operations as part of efforts to be the worldwide leader when it comes to automotive lithium-ion batteries. [via autonews - sub. required]