Renault-Nissan Alliance, CEA and FSI to Form Joint Venture to Develop and Manufacture Batteries for Electric Vehicles
|Li-ion pack of the type to be assembled at Flins. Click to enlarge.|
The Renault-Nissan Alliance, the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the French Strategic Investment Fund (FSI) signed a letter of intent to set up a joint venture company that would develop and manufacture batteries for electric vehicles, under the patronage of Christian Estrosi, the French Minister for Industry.
The joint venture between Renault, Nissan, CEA and FSI would focus on advanced research, manufacturing and the recycling of electric vehicle batteries. The joint venture plans to produce batteries from mid-2012 at the Renault Flins plant, located 30 km from Paris. Production capacity is targeted at 100,000 batteries a year. The investment value of the first phase of the project is estimated at €600 million (US$893 million).
Renault, Nissan and the CEA would bring technical expertise and infrastructure support in addition to an equity investment. FSI will join the project and contribute €125 million (US$186 million). In order to complete the financing of the project, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is considering a loan of up to 50% of the €280 million (US$416 million) debt financing.
Batteries produced by the joint venture would be available for sale to any manufacturer. The Renault-Nissan Alliance will use its European battery plants in France, the UK and Portugal to supply electric vehicles built around Europe and Turkey. Renault intends to use the batteries produced at Flins primarily for the all-new electric car that will derive from the Zoé Ze Concept, also to be built at the Flins plant. (Earlier post.)
The joint venture will have a sustainable approach to its entire operations, including developing technologies to recycle batteries on site.To date, the French government has created several initiatives towards zero emission mobility including public and private sector company bids on joint purchases of a 100,000 electric vehicle fleet by 2015, consumer incentives of up to €5,000 (US$7,400) for the purchase of an electric vehicle (through 2012) and the development of infrastructure through a planned investment of €900 millions (US$1.3 billion) financed by the French government.
The CEA is a French government-funded technological research organization active in three main fields: Energy; Information and Health Technologies; and Defense and Security. As a major player in research, development and innovation, the CEA has developed strong links with industry. Mainly through its labs based in Grenoble, the CEA aims at developing new energy technologies and focus on three keys areas: electrical technologies for transportation; solar energy and low energy consumption buildings; nanomaterials for energy.
The FSI is 51% held by Caisse des Dépôts and 49% by the French State. The FSI is a fund that takes minority interests in French companies that have the potential to create value and competitiveness for the economy.