Hitachi Chemical has developed technologies of particle forms and surface structures through its research and development on carbon anode materials for lithium batteries used in applications such as mobile handsets, smartphones, notebook PCs and tablet PCs. For use in motor vehicles, Hitachi Chemical has developed graphite-based anode materials with high capacity density and excellent discharge efficiency for EVs and PHEVs with focus on extending driving distance. It has also developed amorphous carbon anode materials with excellent input characteristics for HEVs. Hitachi Chemical’s anode materials for vehicles have been adopted by Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. for use in lithium ion batteries mounted in the EV called "Nissan LEAF" launched in December 2010, as well as by customers both at home and abroad.
Hitachi Chemical is now producing anode materials for vehicles at the first line that began operations in April last year and at the second line from January this year. Production rate was rising as of July 2011. In response, Hitachi Chemical has decided to double the production capacity with the 3.5 billion yen investment, which was initially projected as the amount needed to cope with rising demand from existing customers and the increasing needs of new customers backed by future growth in the market.
For the two new production lines, the emergency response mechanisms at the facility will be strengthened and quake resistant equipment also enhanced. Thus, not only the production capacity will double but also any recovery period can be shortened in the event of a massive earthquake. Hitachi Chemical plans to make significant periodic increases in capacity over the next few years in response to future growth in the market for anode materials for vehicles, and will work to maintain the world’s leading market share in the field of anode materials business by continuing aggressive investments in plant and equipment.