Roger keeps tabs on the Japanese auto industry, specializing in coverage of manufacturing and advanced technology.
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“It is hard to make an economic case for cell production in the U.S. because of the tremendous amount of cash flow from the Chinese government into cell manufacturing,” says Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, associate director of the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute.
Toray’s automotive-material business includes, in addition to carbon-fiber composites, a range of materials from engineering plastics for conventional gasoline and diesel powertrains, to polyphenylene sulfide resins for power-control units in electric cars.
The German government has committed more than €600 million ($672 million) to battery research since the beginning of the decade, covering everything from materials and advanced cell chemistries to manufacturing.
Japan’s CHAdeMO and China’s China Electricity Council hope to have pace-setting ultra-fast 600-kW DC chargers on the market later this year.
As recently as 2015 Japanese battery suppliers, including early entrants Panasonic and NEC, led the world in sales. That has changed with the emergence of CATL and BYD in China and LG Chem and Samsung in South Korea.