|Prototype laminated cells (left) and vehicle battery pack (right). Click to enlarge.|
Nissan Motor, NEC Corporation, and NEC TOKIN Corporation, have signed an agreement to establish a joint-venture company—Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC)—to develop and market lithium-ion batteries for wide-scale automotive application by 2009, including applications such as hybrids, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and electric vehicles.
Nissan and NEC Group will invest ¥490 million (US$4.1 million) in the partnership. AESC is expected to begin operations by the end of April, 2007, and will operate as an independent company.
The new company will focus on the development and marketing of advanced lithium-ion batteries, designed to power future generations of electric-powered vehicles. After one year, the partnership will be expanded to include mass production and sales. The new joint venture will market its lithium-ion batteries to other potential customers in the auto industry.
NEC and NEC TOKIN bring expertise in cell technology and battery manufacturing while Nissan will focus on the battery pack for real-world application in electric-powered vehicles.
Together, Nissan and NEC’s engineers have addressed the key challenges of cost, performance, safety and reliability—we believe that we have a breakthrough technology in the lithium-ion battery product we will produce. Through AESC, this battery will be made available to all automakers, and we expect this could further accelerate the development of future generations of eco-friendly vehicles.—Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President of Nissan
Nissan’s Nissan Green Program 2010 (NGP 2010) calls for, among other things, launching an electric vehicle early in the next decade; developing Nissan’s original hybrid vehicle—not the Altima hybrid using Toyota technology—targeted for launch in FY2010; an accelerating the development of plug-in hybrid technology. (Earlier post.)
A partnership between Nissan and NEC was rumored late last year. (Earlier post.) NEC group had been working with Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. to develop lithium-ion automotive batteries through a joint-venture: NEC Lamilion Energy Ltd. This partnership was dissolved in March 2006 when Fuji Heavy, the maker of Subaru vehicles, moved under Toyota’s umbrella.