Sanyo is one of the biggest suppliers of nickel metal hydride batteries for hybrid vehicles
, along with Panasonic EV
energy. Currently, Sanyo's primary customers are Honda
, but the company also has deals with Volkswagen
for future products from Germany. Ford's ability to sell hybrid vehicles has, in part, been constrained by limited supplies of major components like transmissions and batteries. That situation may soon change, since Sanyo has decided to increase its production of NiMH cells by 75 percent.
Sanyo currently builds two million NiMH cells a month and had been planning to increase that to 2.5 million. Instead, Sanyo has decided to ramp that number up to 3.5 million cells per month. Some of those will undoubtedly go to Honda as it expands hybrid
production with the new CR-Z
coupe and the hybrid Fit
. The deals with VW
and Audi are believed to be for new lithium ion batteries. It's not known how many additional units Ford might get.