The Supervisory Council of RUSNANO has approved the corporation’s participation in a project aimed at establishing the production of state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries, the first in the country. The batteries in this collaborative undertaking will be targeted toward the growing market for green e-transportation, energy, telecommunications, and several other industrial areas.
Under the project, a plant will be built in Novosibirsk with four production lines from Thunder Sky (China), which is its coinvestor. Thunder Sky is the only company in the world engaged in mass production of rechargeable storage batteries for micro- and e-busses. Proprietary technologies of the company include a unique system for rapid - less than half an hour - battery charging and the ability to produce high-capacity up to 700 Ah batteries.
Thunder Sky’s patented technology ensures that its cost of production and price at sale are considerably lower than the nearest competitors’. Its products are being tested in Europe by some of the world’s largest automotive companies—Daimler Benz, Fiat, BMW, Citroen—and by Nokia for use in base stations.
The Russia-based enterprise established under this project will produce, foremost, lithium batteries for all types of electric vehicles, including motorcycles and buses with electric motors. One of the greatest advantages of these batteries is that they are free of ”memory effect” after numerous cycles of charge and discharge. When used in public transportation, the batteries guarantee a 350-kilometers energy reserve after one charge. In the future, new technologies will make it possible to expand the energy reserve to 600 kilometers after one charge. Moreover, the batteries can carry out a quick recharge in only 30-minutes.
Production will begin at the Novosibirsk plant in 2011 with capacity to turn out 300 million Ah annually; capacity will rise to 400 Ah annually in 2012. A sales market is assured for the project’s output: Thunder Sky plans to buy a large part of the Russian factory’s products to fulfill contracts with Chinese producers of e-transport. As demand emerges in the Russian market, products from the plant will be sold there as well.
The new enterprise for realization of the project will have participation from RUSNANO, Thunder Sky Energy Group Limited, and an external co-investor. RUSNANO will contribute 2.24 billion rubles to the equity of the new company and extend a loan of up to 5.5 billion rubles. Thunder Sky Energy Group Limited will invest the same $73 million (2.24 billion rubles) in cash, technology, and intellectual property. The external co-investor will loan $128 million (3.9 billion rubles) to the project company. The budget to bring the project to fruition is estimated at $448 million (13.88 billion rubles) and sales in 2015—at $564 million (17.1 billion rubles).
“In essence, the project involves a transfer to Russia of one of the most advanced technologies in the world. Manufacturing will be fully localized in our country and Russian companies will supply raw materials. We will have new, high-tech production and lower production costs in the project. The endeavor will create 500 new jobs and contribute more than seven billion rubles in taxes to federal and regional budgets between 2010 and 2015,” said RUSNANO Managing Director Sergei Polikarpov, emphasizing the project’s significance.
Thunder Sky Green Power (Shenzhen) Limited founded in the People’s Republic of China in 1998, is a high-tech manufacturer and the developer of the original Lithium-Ion power battery technology. Currently, the company employs two production lines with annual capacity of 60 million Ah. At the end of 2009 company launched an additional fully automatic battery production line with the capacity of 100 million Ah per year. Thunder Sky has been successfully producing lithium-ion batteries for high capacity market of electric vehicles over five years. The company received international certifications for mass production, its batteries are easily adapted for mass-produced models of passenger transport.