Sony, which currently manufactures compact lithium-ion batteries, will spend 100 billion yen in the next few years to set up a high-volume production system for high-capacity batteries, according to Sony Executive Deputy President Hiroshi Yoshioka.
There have been several deals between the electronic and automobile industries in producing high-capacity lithium-ion batteries — on which EVs depend for power — such as that between Panasonic and Toyota. With Sony one of the last major electronics corporations to join the race, all eyes are on who will become its partner.
Sony currently manufactures 41 million compact lithium-ion batteries for laptop computers and cell phones every month at six factories in Japan and abroad. Last August, it spent 40 billion yen to reinforce its production capacity at two domestic plants, with plans to increase production to 74 million batteries a month by the end of October. Plans for increased production were halted, however, when business performance rapidly declined after the Lehman Shock last fall.
However, “the world economy is on its way to recovery,” according to Yoshioka, leading Sony to decide not only to reinstate the investment plans that had been put on hold, but also to begin manufacturing high-capacity lithium-ion batteries, which are used for storage batteries in EVs and solar power generators, hoping to help haul itself out of its rut…
Asked about potential partners in the automobile industry, Yoshioka seemed confident that options were still available, indicating that Sony is hoping to shop its prototypes to various car manufacturers. “The collaboration of electronics and automobile companies over lithium-ion battery production for EVs is still a relatively new phenomenon,” he said. “And while we are considered late in entering the market, we still have plenty of chances to have our case heard.”
I understand that by 2012 they will consider researching these new-fangled electric wristwatches.