Toshiba, like most other battery manufacturers, has decided that the market for automotive grade lithium ion cells is going to be huge in the next decade. As a result it has decided to build a second factory dedicated to automotive battery production in Kashiwazaki, Japan. The new 355,000-square foot plant will cost about $274 million and construction is expected to start in April of next year with production scheduled to start about one year after that.

The plant will build Toshiba's SCiB cells which are claimed to have better thermal stability than traditional lithium cells while also having a much higher charge cycle life. The SCiB are rated for 6,000 charge cycles and can support rapid charging in 30 minutes. No automakers have publicly announced plans to use the cells, but Toshiba likely has someone lined up if it is committing to a second plant already.

[Source: Toshiba]

press release

Toshiba to Build a Second SCiB Production Facility
-The new production facility to be set up at Kashiwazaki city, in Niigata Prefecture-

TOKYO-Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO:6502) today announced that in anticipation of strong future demand, it will construct a second dedicated production facility for its safe, long-life, rapid charge SCiB battery, in the Kashiwazaki Frontier Park, in Kashiwazaki city, Niigata prefecture.

The market for lithium-ion batteries is expected to see significant demand growth, and to account for a growing share of a lithium-ion battery market scale that is expected to reach sales of approximately 2 trillion yen1 worldwide in fiscal year 2015. Toshiba anticipates strong demand for SCiB, primarily for application in battery-powered electric vehicles (EV), in a range extending from motorcycles to forklifts through to cars, and has decided to establish a second production facility for SCiB.

Toshiba selected Kashiwazaki because of the city's commitment to realizing a low-carbon society by promoting electric vehicles (EV) and attracting EV-related businesses. The city is recognized as a model area for the "EV and plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHV) town," promoted by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in order to encourage adoption of EV and PHV. The prefecture and city's subsidy program also influenced Toshiba in selecting the site.

The total investment in construction and installation of manufacturing equipment will be in the region of 25 billion yen, and the new facility will have a floor area be approximately 33,000m2. Construction is scheduled to start in April 2010, with a completion date of October 2010. In spring 2011, the plant will start to produce SCiB cells and modules for application in battery-powered electric vehicles (EV). The initial capacity of 500,000 cells a month is expected to rise when the automotive application market takes off in fiscal year 2011, allowing the plant to achieve significant cost reductions through mass production.

SCiB is Toshiba's breakthrough rechargeable battery that offers excellent safety, long-life and rapid charge. Toshiba positions the SCiB as a new business with promising long term growth potential. The company currently produces SCiB for industrial applications at Saku Operations in Nagano prefecture. Establishing a new production facility site will support an operating structure that allows timely responses to increasing demand from the new market for battery-powered electric vehicles (EV) and also for the power storage market that will accompany the coming transition to Smart Grids. The company aims to achieve net sales of 200 billion yen from the SCiB business by fiscal year 2015.

Outline of New Production Facility

- Name of the facility: Kashiwazaki Operations
- Location: Kashiwazaki Frontier Park, in Kashiwazaki city in Niigata prefecture.
- Building Area: approx. 33,000m2
- Start Construction: April 2010 (plan)
- Completion of Building: October 2010 (plan)
- Start Production: Spring 2011(plan)

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