Dreamliner Battery Maker and Bosch Announce Joint Venture

Production is expected to start by the end of 2017.

TOKYO - Japan's GS Yuasa, the battery supplier for Boeing's (IW 500/16) troubled Dreamliner, on Thursday announced a tie-up with German technology giant Bosch to develop lithium-ion batteries.

The pair plans to set up a joint venture early next year with trading house Mitsubishi Corp. that would research and develop "high-performance" powerpacks, GS Yuasa said.

"These batteries are fundamental for future forms of mobility, such as plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicles," it said in a statement, adding that it hoped the venture's research would "significantly increase energy content."

"This will reduce weight and space requirements, and increase the range of electric vehicles."

Bosch would control 50% of the venture with the Japanese firms each holding 25% of the business, which will have its headquarters in Stuttgart.

Mitsubishi Motors' i-MiEV electric cars have a range of about 180 kilometers (110 miles) per charge, but "we hope to produce batteries that double this distance," a GS Yuasa spokeswoman said.

Production is expected to start by the end of 2017.

GS Yuasa drew global attention following the worldwide grounding of Boeing's next generation Dreamliner aircraft after problems were discovered with its battery systems in January.

The aircraft has since returned to the skies, and Japanese investigators said they found no major fault with GS Yuasa's production.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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