Batteries charge ahead

NEC and Fuji Heavy Industries are to form a new joint venture company that will develop a manganese lithium-ion type rechargeable battery for automobiles.

NEC Lamilion Energy, as the new company is called, will begin operations on May 20 with an initial workforce of 21 employees – 12 transferring from NEC and 9 from FHI.

Paid-in capital of the new joint venture company is expected to be 490 million yen, 51% of which has been contributed by NEC and 49% by FHI.

The new rechargeable battery will be developed by integrating NEC’s laminate type manganese lithium-ion cell technology with FHI’s battery pack technology.

NEC claims that laminate manganese lithium-ion batteries have many advantages over nickel metal hydride batteries, including higher power density, smaller volume, lighter weight and reduced heat generation.

Once prototypes have been developed, NEC Lamilion Energy plans to supply them to all domestic and international automobile manufacturers for evaluation. The company expects the new battery to be readied for production within 3 years.