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Fuji Heavy touting new hybrid battery

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Link: http://www.autoweek.com/news.cms?newsId=103034

Fuji Heavy touting new hybrid battery, says it will last for 15 years or 150,000 miles

YUZO YAMAGUCHI | Automotive News

Posted Date: 8/24/05

TOKYO -- Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., which makes Subarus, aims to sell a long-lasting battery for gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains to global automakers starting in 2006.

Together with NEC Corp., a major Japanese electronics maker, Fuji Heavy has developed a manganese lithium ion battery it says can last 15 years or 150,000 miles.

The nickel-metal hydride battery in the Toyota Prius is covered by its warranty for eight years or 100,000 miles.

A year ago, Fuji Heavy started shipping samples of the batteries to several U.S., European and Japanese automakers, which it would not identify. No deals have been struck.

To gain economies of scale, Fuji Heavy wants to sell the batteries to other automakers before using them for Subarus.

"It's not realistic in terms of costs to use the battery only for Subaru cars," says a Fuji Heavy engineer.

The automaker is working on a hybrid powertrain equipped with a turbocharged engine for the Legacy. It plans to test a limited number of the cars in Japan in 2007.

But it's uncertain when Fuji Heavy could bring the powertrain to the United States.

NEC Lamilion Energy Ltd., owned 51 percent by NEC and 49 percent by Fuji Heavy, was set up in 2002 in Japan to develop the hybrid battery.

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Sounds a lot better than the batteries in Toyotas.

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