Hitachi, Ltd. announced today that it has received an order for lithium-ion battery systems from General Motors Corporation (GM). Hitachi’s lithium-ion battery systems will be installed annually in more than 100,000 hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV), which is scheduled to launch in North America market in 2010.
The order reflects GM’s recognition of the solid quality of Hitachi lithium-ion batteries, Hitachi’s proven record in a broad spectrum of lithium-ion battery technologies, including performance, cost, safety, durability and endurance, and its track record of having supplied the market with more than 200,000 cells since 2000. The lithium-ion batteries will be supplied by Hitachi Vehicle Energy, Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd.
Owing to stricter environmental regulations and rising concern about fuel economy worldwide, Hitachi expects the global market for HEVs to continue expanding from the 410,000 unit level recorded in 2006 to 1.5 million units in 2010*. Against this backdrop, Hitachi estimates that demand for HEV lithium-ion batteries will overtake that for the current mainstream nickel metal hydride batteries in 2015.
In January 2008, Hitachi infused additional capital into Hitachi Vehicle Energy, a joint venture company among Hitachi, Ltd., Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery Co.,Ltd. and Hitachi Maxell, Ltd., for the purpose of boosting the company’s production capacity and product development capability. Hitachi‘s strength are development and production of all major HEV components, including motors, inverters and batteries, and Hitachi can therefore supply optimal systems matched to the needs of the customer. In addition to this strength, the Hitachi Group’s wide-range of technologies and products with potential to advance the HEV extends to electronic devices, materials and other relevant technologies and products. These capabilities ensure the Group’s ability to deliver top-notch HEV systems. Hitachi says it will try to exploit the opportunity of the GM order to expand its lithium-ion battery business and increase sales of HEV motors and inverters.
Automakers are expected to move their HEV businesses into full swing from 2010. Hitachi sees this as a chance to use its lithium-ion battery and other HEV-related operations to help protect the global environment.