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Nissan to Build Li-ion Battery Plants for EVs in the UK and Portugal

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., within the Renault-Nissan Alliance, plans to build two plants for the production of its advanced lithium-ion batteries in Europe. The governments of the UK and Portugal have offered to extend financial assistance and other support to ensure that Nissan locates the proposed plants within their respective countries.

The two plants are scheduled to supply the advanced lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles to be produced by the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The projected annual capacity for each plant is 60,000 units. Furthermore, the Renault-Nissan Alliance continues its discussion with other governments in Europe to identify other battery plant locations to meet volume requirements.

The UK site will be located in Sunderland where Nissan already has an existing manufacturing facility. The UK site will be the Nissan European Mother Site for Battery production and the centerpiece of the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area in the North East of England.

In Portugal, several possible sites for the battery plant have been identified and the final selection will be announced at a later date. Last November, Portugal became the first European country to sign a final agreement with the Alliance for implementing a zero emission mobility program from 2010. Within this plan, the Alliance will supply its EVs from Spring 2011, and the Portuguese Government will leverage a network of 1,300 recharging stations that will be in place across Portugal over the next 2 years.

The Portuguese Government earlier signed an agreement with 25 cities and key motorways and parking players toward the implementation of a recharging network that will secure full coverage of the country. The prototype of those recharging stations was developed by a Portuguese consortium in collaboration with Nissan.

In 2007, Nissan Motor, NEC Corporation, and NEC TOKIN Corporation formed the joint venture Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) to develop and market lithium-ion batteries for hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. (Earlier post.)



Nissan-Renault-NEC could become leaders in early mass production of batteries and components for electrified vehicles worldwide.

What are the Big-3 doing with all the $$B they received to electrify their production? Will they have to purchase technology and components from Asia?



GM is rehabing a Volt pack assembly plant for the LG cells:

Likewise Chrysler/A123 JV building plant in Michigan:

And Ford/Johnson Controls Saft is building a 15M cell plant in Holland, Michigan:

All three makers know that original battery technology is key to EV success. Remember too that auto sales turn on an aesthetic factor as well as the technology. Detroit has some fantastic home-grown talent designing their vehicles. Leveraging this talent gives Big Three automakers an edge in western markets. They'll need to grow this talent further as world-wide competition increases.



Are you sure that the Big-3 will not be in the catch-up mode for years with regards to affordable electrified vehicles?

A few $110K Tesla is not the anwer. Volt and Prius PHEVs at $45K to $50K each are not good enough either.

The world needs $5K to $6k basic electrified Tata Nano (or equivalent) and under $20K electrified basic mid-size cars to progressively replace the existing (or shortly to exist) one billion ICE vehicles.

For that to come about, much cheaper ($150 to $250/Kwh); much better performance (400 to 600 Wh/Kg) storage units are required.

Storage units evolution has to pick up speed. A few $15 M factories is not enough. Much more accellerated research has to be done to advance the technologies used and adapt existing and new factories.

It is not a given certainity that the Big-3 can do it. It may be beyond their financial and technical capabilty. The acquired resitance to change will the difficult to overcome.

Stan Peterson

The keys to battery price reduction is mass manufacture in automated plants, availability of good cell chemistries, and Lithium availability. While automation exists for tiny AA or AAA cells, there is little actual automation equipment available or used for the large prismatic cells in automotive applications. Hence up to now, they are largely hand assembled with cheap Third World labor.

But that picture is changing. There are as many as half a dozen mass manufacture facilities being erected in the USA to supply both large prismatic cells and battery packs, using heavy automation. Battery chemistry research is well established in the US.

Meanwhile the USA remains the world's largest potential Lithium supplier, with fully proved mining capacity, for Lithium. It is largely shut-in by the mining companies, as they shifted attention to now exploit the rich Atacama desert brines. But as demand for Lithium increases, the mines will be reopened, and America will return to the status of World's largest supplier of Lithium, as it used to be.



I would like to believe you with regards to USA's large lithium production but it seems that is not the case. Historically, USA has imported much more than 50% of the lithum it uses. The ratio is similar to crude oil. This could change if the price of lithium goes up or local mining firms get huge subsidies. Both may happen.

The main current producers are Chile, Argentina, China and Australia. USA is one of the many other minor producers.

China's production is going up at the rate of 20+ %/yr but so is it's consumption. As China will certainly become one of the major lithium batteries manufacturer, they too will probably import heavily.


The cost of Volt will be surprising considering how many big numbers are bandied about. MSRP will be under 30k and with the income tax credit of $7500 it will become affordable to nearly everyone. Tata Nano??? No one's gonna drive a fancy golf cart nor can they be sold without meeting safety standards.

EVs and HEVs will be coming from Germany, US, Korea and Japan. Other entries will have to prove their products and an ability to support them before they'll gain acceptance.

Lithium for an EV fleet is recyclable so a fixed amount will serve until newer chemistry replaces it. There is no resource issue.


Lithium (actually Li-carbonate) coming from South America (Bolivia, Argentina, Chile) and China (Tibet) has far lower production costs than the Li mined in Australia, US and some other places.
The reason is the low separation costs, from Li salt deposits or from salty lakes (using some evaporative processes).

I expect the real BEV revolution to start once a reliable non-chemical electric storage is found. I mean a 'battery' (or ESS) based on some physical principle (spin or so), yet to be invented. Chemical batteries are far from ideal, too many limitations.
The development history of ESS may look similar to the one of data storage systems. Several diverse technologies over decades with evolutionary and also revolutionary improvements.

I expect the real BEV revolution to start
when Chevron's patent on the NiMH battery expires in 2014.

Then we will have inexpensive but quality batteries available for automotive applications.

We don't need new major advances in battery technology; what we need is mass production of NiMH to start so that manufacturing processes can be optimized. We don't need EV's with a range of over 100 km. A plugin series hybrid with 100 km range will reduce gasoline consumption by at least 95% for most people. And after 100 km you use the range extending gas generator to go as far as you want, on the 1 day a month you drive that far.

This would not be expensive at all. At 150 Whr/km, to go 100 km you would need a 15 kWhr pack, which would cost $7,500 at $500 / kW-hr (probably an overestimate), and weigh 215 pounds at 70 Wh/kg.

These cars could easily be made available for $20,000 or less, since anyone could easily make a car with a small generator in it for $12,500.

The Volt is (will be, if they ever bring it to market) expensive because lithium batteries are twice that price. Plus GM doesn't actually want to make it so they're doing everything they can to turn it into a failure to play into the public's suspicion of EV's, and they'll probably stall until 2014 and then just give up on it and move over to NiMH when they realize the competition will blow them away unless they actually produce an EV.


Harvey D said:
'A few $15 M factories is not enough. '
You seem to have misread the link to the Johnson Control-Saft plans for a factory.
It is to produce 15 million cells a year, not cost $15m.
The contribution from the State of Michigan alone is put at $148.5m

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