Reports indicate that in Japan companies have started to ally to mass-produce a cutting-edge lithium ion battery material, for domestic use and export.
Itochu, Kureha and Kuraray are bonding with Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, a public-private investment fund, to manufacture negative electrodes, a vital component for batteries. Kuraray and Kureha have already developed a process that transforms a plant-derived material into charcoal, which will be used in the negative electrodes. The two companies declared that the new material is very useful as it can improve with 30% the battery durability and halve the charging time for EVs and plug-in hybrids.
The partnership plans to raise 20 billion yen to begin building the necessary plants and start production in Japan in 2014, expanding afterwards in China, the US and other locations. The companies are also trying to find other Japanese manufacturers willing to produce the rest of key components for the lithium ion batteries. The plan is to make each company to jointly produce core components by 2017. Reports say that discussions have already begun. The aim of this partnership is to maintain Japan’s lead in the field of lithium ion batteries.