Warning: Sony VTC5s sold today are all fake. December 06 2014, 4 Comments

The Sony VTC5 has officially kicked the bucket

Battery bro is always asked about the Sony VTC5. Every e-cig enthusiast has heard about this battery because of its high specifications ideal for sub-ohm vaping. If you check Ebay, Amazon, or Alibaba you can find vendors selling them. In fact, the VTC5 is still one of the best selling 18650 batteries on Ebay. We are a high-quality li-ion wholesaler and we don't stock them.

So why don't we sell them?

Because it's overwhelmingly likely that every VTC5 you've ever seen is fake. 

Official response from Sony Media

Thank you for your inquiry.

The 18650 (VTC5) type batteries are no longer manufactured by Sony.

This product was never intended for individual, public sale and are not eligible for warranty or engineering support.

It was only available to OEM makers of specific devices.

The specifications and markings on the battery may vary depending upon the OEM’s requirements.

Therefore, it is difficult to determine the true manufacturer or authenticity of the batteries without physical inspection and manufacturing code research.

This type of battery is widely available on the internet market through non-authorized resellers.

Therefore, Sony is not liable for the performance or use of this type battery for non-intended purposes.

Such applications should be done at the user’s own risk.

Furthermore, any battery of this type claimed to be Sony brand may be older stock.

Where did they go?

There are several unconfirmed rumors:

  1. Production stopped after the Fukushima nuclear disaster forced a lithium ion plant to shut down in Japan.
  2. They have moved production to the Philippines but demand exceeds supply.
  3. There are still real VTC5s on the market, in dwindling stock-piles

The Shimotsuke li-ion battery facility, closed in 2012.

Rumor #1

Sony Fukushima Corporation, did produce these cells, and stopped production in some plants for several days, and others for several weks. The Koriyama, Motomiya, Tagajo and Kanuma plants make electrodes for lithium-ion batteries and the Koriyama and Tochigi plants assembled them into cells. These factories were out of operation after the disaster, but all resumed operations within a month. 

Rumor #2

In 2012, Sony announced they will move their li-ion battery assembly abroad to counter a strong yen (the Japanese currency). They relocated, but not to the Phillipines - they have moved assembly to China and Singapore. As of today, Sony only has three battery plants still in Japan. The business headquarters (Koriyama), the electrode production plant (Motomiya), and a plant in Kanuma. If you would like to visit the three remaining factories, here is a helpful guide.

When talking about supply, it is worth noting that Sony only accounts for about 10% of the global li-ion market, and is dwarfed by market leader Panasonic. Actually this year, Sony posted an operating loss of 23.8 billion yen in its devices segment due to an impairment charge on its battery business. Sony is expected to focus their li-ion production on smartphones and tablets, while scaling down on other commodity batteries like the 18650. 

Rumor #3

While this is probably...slightly true, it is increasingly unlikely, and not a compelling reason at all to buy a VTC5. Because of the demand for these cells, they have likely all been sold many months ago.

How do I spot a fake VTC5?

Just take a look at a calendar. At the time of writing this post, December, 2014, Sony does not manufacture the VTC5.

Should you buy Sony VTC5s?

No, definitely not. You will likely receive a dangerous, low-quality cell, hidden under a fake shrink-tube wrapper. 

To confirm for yourself, email mediaservices@am.sony.com and ask "Is my Sony VTC5s real?"

What is a good alternative to the VTC5?

The Samsung 25R is the best alternative to it.