Honda announces partnership to develop lithium-ion batteries

Honda has delivered some good news after disappointing its high-performance fans this morning when it announced that it has suspended plans to built the 2010 Honda NSX. The Japanese automaker announced today that it has found a partner for lithium-ion battery development – Japan’s GS Yuasa Corp.

CEO Takeo Fukui said today that Honda will team up with GS Yuasa Corp. to manufacture next-generation lithium-ion batteries for Honda’s future hybrid vehicles. The new company will be owned 51 percent by GS Yuasa and 49 percent by Honda.

Currently Honda’s Civic Hybrid and Toyota’s Prius use nickel-metal hydride batteries. Honda did not say which future vehicles will carry the new lithium-ion battery packs, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the next-generation of the Honda Insight – the first generation will make its production debut at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show next month and will use nickel hydride batteries.

According to Automotive News, GS Yuasa currently makes lithium-ion batteries for Mitsubishi in a joint venture called Lithium Energy Japan. The batteries are much larger than the ones it will develop for Honda since those are used for a fully-electric cars. Honda’s batteries will be much smaller since they will work with Honda’s hybrid system.

Honda and GS Yuasa said they will spend ¥7.5 billion ($85.2 million) on the new company.

Honda Insight Hybrid (production):


Honda Insight Hybrid Concept: