EV Battery & BMS

Asahi Kasei to build lithium-ion battery plant in Ontario, Canada

Asahi Kasei, a Japanese chemical company, announced that it will construct an integrated plant in Ontario, Canada for the base film manufacturing and coating of Hipore™ wet-process lithium-ion battery (LIB) separator. In relation to this plant, Asahi Kasei has concluded a basic agreement with Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (Honda) and the two parties are currently studying joint investment. Also with regard to the Canadian plant, it has been agreed that Asahi Kasei Battery Separator Corp., which is scheduled to be established in October 2024, will receive funding from the Development Bank of Japan Inc. (DBJ) through the issuance of preferred shares. Furthermore, receipt of financial support from the federal government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario regarding this investment is expected.

The necessary funds for this investment will be provided to ES Materials Canada Corp., the Canadian separator business company, and E-Materials Canada Corp., the local manufacturing company responsible for plant construction and manufacturing, through ES Materials Holdings Corp., the North American separator business company.

Asahi Kasei positions its Energy Storage related business as one of the “10 Growth Gears” (GG10) expected to drive future growth in its medium-term management plan for fiscal 2024. The plan is focused on the theme “Be a Trailblazer.” The core of its Energy Storage business is Hipore™ wet-process LIB separator. It has been leading technological innovation based on over 40 years of business history. Currently, it is expanding its sales in automotive applications in addition to consumer electronics applications.

The decision was made to construct an LIB separator manufacturing plant in Ontario, Canada. Moreover, this move aimed to meet North American demand for battery separators for plug-in electric vehicles. Additionally, it sought to integrate into North American LIB supply chains established due to governmental clean energy policies.

Asahi Kasei and Honda have reached a basic agreement. This agreement is based on the shared understanding that it is essential to establish a supply chain. Moreover, this supply chain is for the stable supply of high-performance batteries for the North American plug-in electric vehicle market, which is expected to grow over the medium to long term. Studies are advancing for the establishment of a joint venture to manufacture Hipore™ separator for batteries. This is intended for EVs made by Honda and other vehicle manufacturers for the North American market.

“To achieve carbon neutrality, Honda is targeting 100% of global sales from EVs and FCVs by 2040,” said Manabu Ozawa, Managing Executive Officer of Honda. “The separator, crucial for EV batteries, significantly boosts their performance and durability, vital for powering electric vehicles efficiently. We are very excited to partner with Asahi Kasei, having outstanding technological capability and broad expertise regarding separators. This will allow us to realize highly competitive EVs that can meet future growing demand in the North American market.”

“The Hipore™ business will play an important role in Asahi Kasei’s growth over the medium term,” added Hiroyoshi Matsuyama, Senior Executive Officer of Asahi Kasei. “Capturing market growth in North America will be essential for us. Honda, renowned for its North American automotive market success, is energetically electrifying its vehicle lineup through a strategic partnership. It allows us to make a meaningful contribution to the improvement of LIB performance. This is in light of anticipated growth in the electric vehicle market and the energy transition in North America.”

Asahi Kasei Battery Separator Corp. will receive funding of ¥28 billion by issuing preferred shares to DBJ. This is for constructing a manufacturing plant for Hipore™ separator in Canada. The project aims to enhance the competitiveness of LIB separator business and strengthen LIB components supply capability.

Asahi Kasei strives to achieve adequate production scale in accordance with market expansion while reducing investment risk. Invest Ontario anticipates receiving financial support from both the federal government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario. Additionally, it anticipates support under the September 2023 memorandum of understanding between Canada and Japan concerning battery supply chains.

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