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Over the past year, Mitsubishi has repeatedly increased its production volume goals of the i-MiEV electric car and now it has decided it needs more capacity to build batteries. Lithium Energy Japan (LEJ) is the joint venture between Mitsubishi and GS Yuasa to build lithium ion batteries. LEJ will build a new production facility in Ritto City, Japan with capacity to supply enough lithium cells for 50,000 cars a year.

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Blue Energy, the recently announced joint venture between Honda Motor Company and GS Yuasa, has begun construction of a new battery manufacturing plant. A groundbreaking was held this week for the Osadano Plant in Fukuchiyama, Kyoto where Blue Energy will develop and produce lithium ion batteries for future Honda hybrid vehicles. Production of batteries at the factory should start in the fall of 2010.

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Honda has announced that it is following its Japanese compatriots by forming a joint venture to develop and build lithium ion batteries. Nissan, Toyota and Mitsubishi already have such joint agreements. Honda will be the second automaker to hook up with GS Yuasa. Mitsubishi and GS Yuasa established a JV in 2007 to produce batteries for the iMiEV that will launch in 2009.

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