After more than a half decade of hints and announcements, last week Sony decided now is the time to begin manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for electrified vehicles.
The electronics giant was a pioneer in the battery industry, commercializing the first lithium-ion battery in 1991, which are now mainstays in all kinds of electronic devices in addition to EVs, gasoline-electric hybrids and plug-in electric hybrids.
While it’s late to the electric vehicle market, Sony’s entrance is well timed.
Production capacity of global leaders for electrified vehicle batteries, Korea’s LG Chem and Samsung SDI and Japan’s Panasonic and Sanyo, is more or less locked up for years to come, opening a door for Sony to enter.
The company’s new VC7 battery is arriving soon and will match the capacity specifications of the other leading suppliers. Its tiny size would make it easy to adapt to any battery pack.
Sony, along with nine additional battery makers, have submitted a bid to be the supplier for Formula E’s electric race series 2018 season, The decision has been delayed due to the number of applicants, but could be announced as soon as next week.
Sony’s name is not new to the automotive industry. It has been promoting its electric and autonomous vehicle technology, especially its imaging sensors to carmakers for some time.