Lithium Energy Japan (LEJ) has decided to build a new Plant in Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture., Japan. The new Ritto plant will start production in early 2012.
The new plant will produce 4.4 million cells a year, enough to power 50,000 of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation's new-generation i-MiEV electric vehicles (EV). The total investment in plant and equipment will amount to 37.5 billion yen. LEJ commenced mass production at its Kusatsu Plant 1st Line last June, and has since been operating at full capacity, producing 200,000 cells (enough for 2,300 EVs) a year.
The 2nd Line will begin operations this June, enabling LEJ to ship an additional 400,000 cells (enough for 4,500 EVs), bringing LEJ's annual production from Kusatsu up to 600,000 cells (enough for 6,800 EVs). Furthermore, LEJ has started investing in a production line at its Kyoto works (GS Yuasa's Kyoto Office), and from December 2010, will produce 1 million cells a year (enough for 11,000 EVs). LEJ has succeeded in developing technologies to produce the large capacity lithium-ion cells in the specially designed mass production line, and is now prepared to launch full-scale operations capable of meeting the needs of more than 10,000 EVs per year.
By the second half of fiscal year 2012, when the Ritto Plant begins operations, LEJ will be capable of producing 6 million cells (enough for 67,800 EVs) through these three production bases of Kusatsu, Kyoto, and Ritto. LEJ aims to expand its Japanese operations to accommodate 100,000 EVs per year in the future. For its construction of the Ritto plant, LEJ will receive the maximum subsidy of 5 billion yen under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's "Regional Development Subsidy Program for "Green" Companies Towards Employment Creation" for the fiscal year 2009.