The Nikkei reported that Nissan Motor Co. will build a joint-venture lithium-ion battery plant in France in 2012 to supply Renault. In addition to batteries, Nissan and Renault plan to work together on motors and other key components of electric vehicles to bring down production costs.
Automotive Energy Supply Corp., a joint venture between Nissan and the NEC Corp. group, has already decided to upgrade the supply capacity of its plant in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture to give it a capacity to supply enough lithium ion batteries for 100,000 cars a year.
Nissan and Renault are now holding discussions toward building a joint venture lithium ion battery plant at a Renault production base in France. This joint venture plant is expected to start operating by 2012, with an annual capacity of enough batteries for around 60,000 cars. The total investment is expected to come to about 30 billion yen [US$333 million]. Nissan and Renault plan to use a low-interest loan facility offered by the French government for green cars. Renault may play a leading role in the management of the joint venture plant.
Nissan and NEC also plan to build lithium ion battery plants in the U.S., the U.K. and Portugal by 2012. Altogether, their worldwide lithium ion battery supply capacity will likely reach enough for nearly 500,000 cars a year, up from their earlier goal of around 400,000 units. Their total investment for the mass production of those batteries is forecast to come to 200-250 billion yen [US$2.2-2.8 billion].