Panasonic plans home-use storage cell

Panasonic Develops High Energy Lithium-ion Battery Module  with High Reliability

Panasonic Corp., which recently made a successful takeover bid for Sanyo Electric Co., plans to market a lithium-ion storage cell for home use around fiscal 2011.

"We'll be the first to bring to the market a storage battery for home use, which can store sufficient electricity for about one week of use," said Fumio Otsubo, president of Panasonic, in a recent interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.

On Monday, Panasonic announced it has officially acquired a more than 50 percent stake in Sanyo.

It has become Japan's second-largest electronics giant, next to Hitachi, Ltd., with anticipated combined sales of 8.66 trillion yen for the business year ending in March.

Stressing that Panasonic and Sanyo have already test-manufactured a storage battery for home use, Otsubo said, "We're positioned closest [among firms] to realizing CO2 emission-free daily life."

By making Sanyo its subsidiary, Panasonic plans to accelerate the development of the storage battery, while planning to sell it together with a system that will enable households to check electricity usage on a home-based TV display.

Solar batteries for home use and fuel cells can generate power but cannot store electricity, making the development of a storage battery an urgent task for related businesses.

"As we now have such power-generating products as solar power and fuel cells, there'll be an opportunity to create a bigger business...In the area of automobile cells, we can deal with all kinds of eco-friendly cars such as hybrid cars or electric vehicles," Otsubo said, emphasizing the synergistic effect of tying-up with Sanyo.

Otsubo said his company will announce its basic ideas with regards to reorganizing the two firms' growth strategies and overlapping product lines--such as large household appliances--on Jan. 8, while presenting specific ways to deal with the overlapping lines of business when the company announces its settlement of accounts in May.

Conceding that product brands of Panasonic and Sanyo need to be unified at some well-timed point in the future, Otsubo said many things need to be considered, adding that the company's new midterm plan would be worked out while keeping Sanyo's brands in place.

With the rise of the yen and accelerating deflationary pressure, the corporate environment remains harsh.

"We'll come up with products sought by middle-income people in such emerging countries as China and India, which haven't been hit by deflationary pressure... We hope to introduce Sanyo products to Panasonic's sales channels," he said.

(c) 2009 McClatchy-Tribune

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