Honda and Mitsubishi establish joint venture for electric mobility

Japanese car manufacturer Honda and Mitsubishi Corporation are launching the joint venture Altna. It will tackle three areas: optimising EV usage costs, increasing the service life of batteries and improving the resource cycle within Japan, and adapting to the increasing demand for balancing capacity in the electricity grid through grid storage batteries.

Image: Honda

Specifically, Altna will offer battery leasing for EVs, repurpose end-of-life EV batteries, and provide smart charging services to help optimise the cost of electricity for EV drivers. For example, Honda will launch the N-VAN e in Japan in October. When the electric van is leased to the customer, Altna retains ownership of the battery and monitors battery usage during the lease period.
Continuous monitoring of battery health, including prediction of future battery degradation, will improve battery reliability. Based on this high reliability of the batteries, Altna will operate a business in which the batteries are used over a long period or over their entire life cycle, i.e. from the time of sale of a new vehicle to ownership by the second and subsequent owner.

At the end of the vehicle’s life, the batteries are recovered and used for Altna’s battery repurposing business. Because the company will calculate leasing prices based on the assumption that the batteries will subsequently be used for stationary storage applications, prices are said to be “lower than those of similar lease plans currently available in the market.”

With its ‘Battery Repurposing Business,’ Altna will repurpose used EV batteries and manage them as grid storage. According to the press release, “this will provide the supply-demand adjustment capacities to enable greater grid stability and also contribute to widespread utilisation of renewable energy.” The joint venture will continue to monitor the use conditions of EV batteries as part of the battery leasing business and then utilise end-of-life EV batteries based on the data obtained through long-term monitoring.

In addition, Altna will ensure appropriate recycling of its grid storage batteries to realise resource-efficient production.

Altna will also offer EV charging plans that optimise electricity costs for EV users. These plans use advanced energy control technologies to avoid charging EVs during peak grid usage times. By connecting the energy control system to customers’ EVs, charging will automatically occur at the time of day when the cost of electricity is lowest according to the vehicle’s usage schedule.

Moreover, these charging plans consider the availability of renewable energy, charging EVs’ batteries when green energy is available. According to the company, it could also offer vehicle-to-grig (V2G) services at a later date.


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