In May 2007, Mitsubishi Motors announced that they would be collaborating with Mitsubishi Corporation and battery supplier GS Yuasa on the development of large format lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications. The three companies have now created a joint venture to pursue this work. The new company is called Lithium Energy Japan and the plan is to begin production at a volume of 200,000 units annually in 2009. The company hasn't announced publicly what type of chemistry they are using for their batteries.

[Source: Mitsubishi Motors]

Establishment of "Lithium Energy Japan"
- GS Yuasa, MC and MMC Establish Joint Venture Company to Produce Large Lithium-ion Batteries -

December 12, 2007 - GS Yuasa Corporation (President Makoto Yoda, Head Office Minami-ku, Kyoto), Mitsubishi Corporation (President Yorihiko Kojima, Head Office Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo), and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (President Osamu Masuko, Head Office Minato-ku, Tokyo) began collaboration last May to set up a joint venture company to manufacture large capacity and high performance lithium-ion batteries. On December 12th, 2007, "Lithium Energy Japan" was officially established.

In recent years there has been greater urgency throughout the world to deal with environmental and energy problems, such as the depletion of crude oil and other fossil fuels, and global warming brought on by increasing greenhouse gases. Much focus is being placed on the use of alternative energies and raising energy efficiency. In particular, there is a need for technologies that can convert alternative energies into power and electricity, so that these new sources of energy can ultimately replace fossil fuels, upon which we are largely dependent. As a device essential to the practical application of such technologies, the proliferation of large lithium-ion batteries is expected to greatly increase from hereon.

Commercialization of these batteries began in the mid-to-late 1990s by GS Yuasa. Their applications gradually increased, and companies began building up greater market experience and track records in related business. In order to more widely apply these batteries in automotive (including electric vehicles) and industrial fields, we will need to further upgrade their performance and quality, and manufacturing costs will also need to be greatly reduced through mass-production.

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 came together to invest in this new joint venture. Their intent is to apply their comprehensive strengths in vertical value chains, covering natural resources, materials, development, manufacturing, sales, and the identification of new applications, and take advantage of their powerful synergy to advance this business.

The latent potential of large lithium-ion batteries has already been demonstrated across a wide spectrum of applications. Greater proliferation of these technologies through all-purpose applications will be key to realizing a 'new society' - i.e. a society in which we are better capable of dealing with environmental problems. As the first step towards achieving this 'new society', "Lithium Energy Japan" aims to take a leading role in global industry, and steadily begin mass production of large lithium-ion 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.

Overview of Lithium Energy Japan
1. Corporate Name Lithium Energy Japan
2. Establishment December 12th, 2007
3. Location of Headquarters 1, Inobanba-cho, Nishinosho, Kisshoin, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Japan
4. Capital 500 million yen at establishment; to reach 4 billion yen through increased investment in April, 2008 (planned)
5. Investors GS Yuasa Power Supply Ltd. (wholly-owned subsidiary of GS Yuasa Corporation) 51%, MC 34%, MMC 15%
6. Business Development, Manufacturing & Sales of Large Lithium-ion batteries
7. Production scale 0.2 million units / fiscal year 2009
8. Executives - President
Katsuyuki Ono
Managing Director,
GS Yuasa Corporation
- Director
Teruhiro Hatanaka
General Manager, New Business Promotion Dept., Large-scale Lithium-ion Battery production Division, Industry Business Unit,
GS Yuasa Power Supply Ltd.
- Director
Masanori Kitamura
General Manager, Corporate Strategic Planning Division,
GS Yuasa Corporation
- Director
Hiroshi Imagawa
Senior Vice President, Automotive-Related Business Innovation Office, Innovation Center, Business Innovation Group,
Mitsubishi Corporation
- Director
Toshinaga Kato
General Manager, Motor Vehicle Domestic Operation Unit, Motor Vehicle Business Division, Machinery Group,
Mitsubishi Corporation
- Director
Tohru Hashimoto
Vice Corporate General Manager, Development Engineering Office and MiEV Product Executive,
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
- Auditor
Syunsuke Kusuyama
Full-time Corporate Auditor,
GS Yuasa Corporation
- Auditor
Yoshihito Yoshizawa
Business innovation Group Controller,
Mitsubishi Corporation
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