The joint venture between Honda Motor Company and GS Yuasa has been recently announced. The joint group called Blue Energy has set out to produce lithium ion batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles. To that end, they have begun production on a lithium battery plant in Fukuchiyama, Kyoto
This week they officially held their groundbreaking for the new Blue Energy facility. The facilities main production will include lithium ion batteries for Honda hybrid models. The new facility, the Osadano Plant is expected to be operational in the fall of 2010.
Previously, Honda had made it known that their sole interest would be in hybrid vehicles. Honda doesn't plan any all electric vehicles in the near future and doesn't see plug-in as a feasible vehicle for the masses. Instead, they will concentrate on updating existing hybrid battery systems by replacing nickel metal hydride batteries with lithium ion batteries to increase range, reduce weight, increase gas mileage, and reduce size.
The Osadano Plant is the first step for Honda in reaching their goals of lithium ion battery usage in hybrids. With their own battery manufacturing facility, they will be able to reduce costs and increase output as needed.
Source: Blue Energy Press Release