Panasonic to use PC batteries to power cars

TOKYO Thu Oct 1, 2009 6:41am EDT

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TOKYO Oct 1 (Reuters) - Japan's Panasonic Corp (6752.T) said on Thursday it has developed a technology that binds together standard lithium-ion battery cells used in laptop PCs to power electric vehicles, taking aim at growing demand for green cars.

The new technology will likely enable Panasonic to make electric car batteries at half the cost of lithium-ion batteries that are developed solely for electric cars, since it can use existing battery plants and production expertise, the company said.

Mitsubishi Motors Corp's (7211.T) i-MiEV, the world's first mass-produced electric car, sells for 4.6 million yen ($51,000) before government subsidies due mainly to high costs for lithium-ion batteries.

Panasonic, which vies with Sony Corp (6758.T) for the position as the world's largest consumer electronics maker, said it aims to commercialise the battery as early as in four years, but added it is too early to comment on sales targets. The newly developed batteries can also be used at home to store electricity generated by solar panels and fuel cells. (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Joseph Radford)

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