TOKYO — A Japanese joint venture that links Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and GS Yuasa Corp. in the development and mass production of large lithium-ion batteries said it will start annual capacity at 200,000 units and plans to ramp up production in 2009.
The companies, which announced plans for the lithium-ion battery venture in May, formalized their relationship on Wednesday.
One of the fruits of the joint venture is expected to be an upcoming electric car that Mitsubishi Motors plans to launch early in the next decade. The joint venture also intends to supply other automakers. Mitsubishi Corp. will hold a 34 percent stake in the joint venture, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. will own 15 percent, and GS Yuasa will own 51 percent.
In a jointly issued statement, the partners said capitalization is expected to reach $36 million by next April. GS Yuasa began developing lithium-ion batteries about 10 years ago.
"Mitsubishi Corporation intends to enter the battery manufacturing business and aims to create other related businesses as well," the company said in a statement. "Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is working to promote greater use of electric vehicles, which is the ultimate in environmentally friendly automobiles.
The joint venture said it will use the lithium-ion batteries in electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid vehicles and energy recycling systems.
What this means to you: This joint venture aims to drive down the prohibitive cost of lithium-ion batteries and make mass-produced electric vehicles a reality. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent