Toyota Tsusho invests in developer of next-gen Li-ion battery

Toyota Tsusho Corp. (TYO:8015), Nagoya, Aichi, Japan, the trading arm of Japan’s Toyota Group, last week said it has bought shares in APB Corporation, Tokyo, Japan, developer of a next-generation lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, reports.

In March this year, APB Corporation (APB), a pioneer in development of next-generation lithium-ion batteries called “All Polymer Battery,” has raised about ¥8 billion (approx. US$80 million) from a group of investors including JFE Chemical Corporation, JXTG Innovation Partners Godo Kaisha (a corporate venture capital of JXTG Holdings, Inc.), Keio Innovation Initiative, Nagase & Co., Ltd., Obayashi Corporation, Teijin Limited, and Yokogawa Electric Corporation.

APB is a startup developing and manufacturing the first large scale bipolar lithium-ion battery modules  called All Polymer Battery, it measures 550 x 400 x 50 mm, which was co-developed by Hideaki Horie, current CEO of APB, and Sanyo Chemical Industries, Ltd.

With its investment in APB Corp., Toyota Tsusho will support the commercialisation of the product. It will also use its knowledge and sales network to bring the battery to a broad range of customers as it can be used in big, stationary power sources as well as in motor vehicles in the future.

The battery developed by the startup has almost all of its components made with polymer. Using polymer for both cathode and anode reduces the length of the manufacturing process when compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries. This lowers production costs and lead time but also improves safety and energy density. The polymer used also makes it possible to boost the cell size and shape versatility, according to the statement.

Financial details about the transaction were not disclosed.

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