NEC, Fuji Heavy To Make Environmentally Friendly Batteries For Cars

By Agence France-Presse Japan's NEC Corp. and major engine maker Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI) said May 14 they would form a joint venture for rechargeable batteries to benefit from a push to develop environmentally friendly cars. The new firm, NEC Lamilion Energy Ltd., will be 51% controlled by NEC and 49% by Fuji Heavy with the pair investing a total of 490 million yen (US$3.8 million). To be established May 20 with 12 staff from NEC and nine from Fuji Heavy, the firm will develop, test and manufacture manganese lithium-ion battery packs for automobiles. "By integrating NEC's laminate type manganese lithium-ion cell technology with FHI's battery pack technology, the new company will challenge to develop a rechargeable battery that holds the competitive power of being the global de facto standard," the pair said in a statement. NEC Lamilion Energy will supply a test battery to all domestic and international automakers for evaluation. "The company expects to prove actual performance and to determine [a] scheme of production within three years," the statement said. The joint venture will benefit from a push by car makers to reduce dependence on fuel by developing hybrid engines that run on a blend of gasoline and an electric motor, NEC and FHI said. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2002

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