The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Nissan Motor and NEC Corp. will partner in the development of li-ion battery technology for use in hybrid, electric and fuel-cell cars.
The companies confirmed that such a partnership was under consideration, but said that details are not final.
The Nihon Keizai Shimbun says that the two firms will set up a joint venture next year, with an aim of beginning mass production of such batteries by 2010. By partnering, they hope to catch up to the rival team of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and Toyota Motor Corp.
According to the report, the two partners plan to build a factory by 2010 and sell the products to outside firms as well. Investment in the new plant is expected to exceed ¥10 billion (US$84 million). Because the joint venture will place considerable weight on sales to outside firms, Nissan’s stake in the new firm will likely be less than 50%.
Earlier this month, Nissan announced its Green Program 2010—a broad-based strategy to develop and release its own hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, and fuel cell vehicles in 2010 and afterward. (Earlier post.) A partnership with NEC could give it a lead in the next-generation batteries required for all those solutions.
Nissan, which had begun development of lithium ion batteries early on, is looking for the help of an electronics firm in order to establish mass production technologies. NEC group had been working with Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. to develop such batteries through a joint-venture: NEC Lamilion Energy Ltd. This partnership was dissolved in March when Fuji Heavy, the maker of Subaru vehicles, moved under Toyota’s umbrella. (Earlier post.)