GS Yuasa Corporation (TSE: 6674), Mitsubishi Corporation (TSE: 8058), and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (TSE: 7211) announced that, effective December 12, they have formed the joint venture company "Lithium Energy Japan" to produce large capacity and high performance lithium-ion batteries. The companies have been in collaboration since last May to set up this joint venture company.
GS Yuasa possesses advanced technologies in large lithium-ion batteries and is striving to broaden their applications. Meanwhile, Mitsubishi Corporation intends to enter the battery manufacturing business and aims to create other related businesses as well. Finally, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is working to promote greater use of electric vehicles, which is the ultimate in environmentally-friendly automobiles. Through their mutual interests, the three companies have come together to invest in this new joint venture. Their intent is to apply their comprehensive strengths in vertical value chains and take advantage of their powerful synergy to advance this business.
Commercialization of these batteries began in the mid-to-late 1990s by GS Yuasa. The batteries that will be produced by the new company are based on the "LIM series" of Large Lithium-ion batteries manufactured by GS Yuasa with improved cell-structure and electrode materials to improve the energy density and power density of the new batteries.
Through the development, production, and sales of these batteries, the new company will demonstrate how environmental technologies can be incorporated into society and accelerate the use of these technologies as well, including electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles, and energy recycling systems.
According to the original announcement GS Yuasa was expected to own a 51% share of the new company, with MC and MMC owing 34% and 15% respectively. During the first stage of development, 3 billion yen (US$3.3 million) was to be invested to install automated mass production lines within a 7000m2 facility at GS Yuasa's Kyoto's head office plant, capable of manufacturing 200,000 cells per year. Operations were slated to commence by 2009.