According to Nikkei on January 11, 2018, Britain and France's governments have announced that they will prohibit the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040 in order to make a complete transition towards electric vehicles (EV). These policies are expected to drive the demand of battery for environmentally friendly cars in the near future.
Therefore, GS Yuasa will construct a Lithium-ion battery factory for electric vehicles in Hungary by 2019. Its battery products will mainly be supplied to European auto makers. GS will be the first Japanese battery manufacturer to produce automobile Lithium-ion battery in Europe.
GS began to develop auto Lithium-ion battery as early as in 2007. Currently, its subsidy company manufactures Li-ion batteries in Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture and Fukuchiyama City, Kyoto Prefecture. These batteries are supplied to the EVs of Mitsubishi Motors and hybrid vehicles (HV) of Honda Motors. GS auto Li-ion battery division was originally losing money, but since 2016, it has turned loss into profits.
According to GS' financial report, from April 2017 to September 2017, its auto Li-ion battery business revenue grew 5.8% YoY to JPY 19.606 billion. Its profit increased from JPY 534 million in the red a year ago, to a surplus of JPY 225 million.
In the auto Li-ion battery market, GS's competitors are also investing to increase their capacities. Samsung SDI plans to eventually build an EV battery factory in Hungary. Battery giant Panasonic has recently partnered with Tesla to jointly operate a "Gigafactory" in the US. In the future, Panasonic will also begin to manufacture EV batteries for Tesla in China.