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The Investment Strategy in Battery Industry

published: 2010-04-02 15:13

The development of battery industry first derived from the internal needs of an enterprise. The researcher EnergyTrend cites Japan as an example. In Japan, the battery business plays an important role in a company’s diversification strategy. Furthermore, suppliers on the supply chain work together to set up many new battery companies.

In response to the battery needs of electronic products from all product business units inside, large companies  pay much attention to battery research and development, having battery business units take charge of technology research and development and manufacture batteries for internal use, such as. Japan’s Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd, Toshiba, Korea’s LG Chemical and other automotive battery makers.

EnergyTrend  indicates that the automotive battery is the heart of an electric vehicle. Car makers may not be able to launch highly efficient and environment-friendly vehicles without safe, stable and reliable power supply. Therefore, a new joint venture between battery and car makers equipped with technical advantages from both sides can not only spread risks but also bring about comprehensive effects.

The earliest case is Panasonic EV Energy Co., Ltd, a joint venture between car giant Toyota and Panasonic, mainly to supply NiH batteries to Toyota HEV. Beside, GS Yuasa has extended its business scope from the aluminum acid battery into the lithium-ion battery and established Lithium Energy Japan, a joint venture with Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi Motor, as well as Blue Energy Co., Ltd with Honda, revealing its ambitions for the battery industry.

There is also Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), formed by Nissan and NEC Tokin in the hope of future lithium-ion batteries sales back to Nissan.
In other cases, battery manufacturers and automotive parts suppliers join hands to establish new battery companies, including SB LiMotive Co., Ltd by Samsung SDI and German Bosch, Johnson Controls-Saft by US’s Johnson Controls and French company Saft.  

EnergyTrend  points out that investors on behalf of either technology or application suppliers pour resources into the newly-founded joint venture to facilitate product R&D and rollout. This is the case with Hitachi Vehicle Energy Ltd, formed together by Japan’s Hitachi, Shin-Kobe Electric and Hitachi Maxell.

According to EnergyTrend , apart from joint ventures for internal use, battery manufacturers certainly will secure car factories for cooperation before production capacity expansion to ensure a smooth capacity reduction. Meanwhile, car makers also expect battery suppliers to continue making innovations on battery performance and back up their green cars marketing.

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