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Honda Establishes Joint Venture for Lithium Ion Battery Development

12/17/2008, 4:07 PM

Honda may be cutting costs and canceling some of its future vehicle plans, but the Japanese automaker is moving full steam ahead with its lithium-ion battery plans. Honda announced on Wednesday that it will be forming a joint venture with Japan’s GS Yuasa Corp. to further develop its lithium-ion battery technology.

The new company has yet to be named, but will be 51 percent owned by GS Yuasa and 49 percent owned by Honda. The new company will focus on developing lithium-ion batteries for Honda next-generation hybrid vehicles.

Honda is actually lagging behind its Japanese competition on lithium-ion batteries, with Toyota, Mitsubishi and Nissan already running lithium-ion joint ventures. In fact, GS Yuasa already has a lithium-ion partnership with Mitsubishi, but the Japanese battery maker says that it is not a conflict of interest since that project deals with electric vehicles while Honda’s will focus on hybrids.

It remains unclear when lithium-ion batteries developed from the joint venture will make their way into production vehicles, but a launch date is still likely several years away. According to Automotive News, both companies will be spending about $85 million on the new company.

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