MHI Prepares for Lithium-Ion Battery Production

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has completed construction of a commercial production verification plant for lithium-ion secondary batteries at its Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works. The plant has a production capacity of 66 MWh (megawatt hours) of batteries a year, which is equivalent to 400,000 medium-size cells. Going forward MHI will verify various technologies as it aims for an early startup of full-scale commercial production.

The company will launch production in December to verify factors essential for commercial production, including operation rates, tact time and battery performance. For the verification production line, MHI has incorporated technologies from its diversified business areas, including those related to slurry preparation, coating, and mass-production management knowhow from turbocharger production. The company will make its decision on full-scale commercial production next year, taking into account the market situations in Japan and overseas, future prospects, and the verification results.

Besides producing lithium-ion secondary batteries, MHI has entered into the market for the products using the battery. In October 2009 MHI began marketing the world's first engine/battery hybrid forklift trucks using a lithium-ion battery as the power train. Through incorporation of lithium-ion batteries, today MHI is looking to enhance the value of its products and systems in the fields of transportation and material handling equipment, including battery-operated forklift trucks, electric buses and cranes. The company is also proposing the battery system to other manufacturers for installation as a power train in their products.

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