By fall 2010, Hitachi plans increase its production capacity for lithium ion batteries by 600 percent in the first phase of a major expansion. Hitachi will be supplying the batteries for General Motor's second-generation mild hybrid system that debuts late next year for 2011 model year vehicles. GM has placed an order for enough cells to support 100,000 hybrid vehicles a year. Beyond that, Hitachi is planning to ramp up to build cells for 700,000 hybrids a year by 2015, a 70-fold increase from current levels. The expansion and new production will occur at Hitachi Vehicle Energy Ltd's Tokai factory in Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan. So far most of Hitachi's lithium ion production has been for commercial vehicle applications and the GM batteries will be the first light duty hybrid.

[Source: Reuters]


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