Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. has completed its new factory for automotive lithium-ion batteries in its Kasai Plant (Kasai city, Hyogo prefecture, Japan.) The factory will start with a production capacity of 1 million cells per month, with the aim to expand the production scale depending on demand.

Sanyo has already been supplying nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) to Ford, Honda and Volkswagen, and co-developing NiMH batteries with PSA Peugeot Citroën.

In addition, Sanyo is co-developing lithium-ion batteries for hybrids (HEVs) with the Volkswagen group. Sanyo lithium-ion batteries for Plug-in HEVs (PHEVs) will also be applied in Suzuki vehicles.

The completion of the new factory will make it possible for Sanyo to further meet demands of the lithium-ion batteries from various auto makers.

Earlier in the week, Panasonic, which already has a 50.05% stake in Sanyo as of last year (earlier post) made a tender offer to purchase the remaining shares of Sanyo Electric Co and Panasonic Electric Works (PEW). Sanyo would thus become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Panasonic, rather than a consolidated subsidiary as it is currently. Panasonic will offer ¥138 per share (US $1.60) per share of Sanyo to complete the acquisition.

In June, an EV racing car powered by Sanyo Lithium-ion battery systems hit an all-time record for electric vehicles (EV) at the 2010 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado.

The EV racing car owned by Team Yokohama EV Challenge, a team of The Yokohama Rubber Company, participated in car/truck class of the exhibition division, and finished with 13 minutes 17 seconds as the best time, breaking a previous record of 14 minutes 33 seconds.

The 37 kWh (385V, 96 Ah) pack in the car comprised 6,656 cylindrical 18650-format cells.