Japanese maker's alternative to steel will tap into growing electric-car production
Japanese materials group Teijin will build a second factory in China to make a lighter-than-steel composite and process it into parts for electric vehicles to supply automakers in the world's largest car market.
Glass fiber-reinforced plastic is easily shaped into components like battery boxes. Replacing steel parts with ones made of this material makes electric vehicles lighter by offsetting the weight of batteries and other heavy parts.
Teijin aims to boost its competitiveness as a supplier to electric-vehicle makers by producing components from the materials stage in China.
U.S.-based subsidiary Continental Structural Plastics will build the factory in coastal Jiangsu Province as a joint venture with Victall, a Chinese train equipment maker. The venture already operates a plant in the northeastern Chinese city of Tangshan.
Construction begins this month, with the aim of starting production in 2020. The size of new capacity investment has not been disclosed.
The factory will be located near Shanghai, home to a cluster of global automakers operating in China.
China is promoting the use of electric and hybrid vehicles -- collectively known as new-energy vehicles -- with policies including a sales quota that takes effect next year.
U.S.-based Tesla is among the global automakers planning to make electric vehicles in China.