Nissan and NEC form new company to mass produce lithium-ion batteries for the global automotive community
By Mike Hanlon
April 15, 2007
April 16, 2007 The evolution towards cleaner powertrains will see the proliferation of a wider mix of electric-powered vehicles including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and electric vehicles. Accordingly, it is significant that Nissan Motor Company, NEC Corporation, and its subsidiary, NEC TOKIN, have signed an agreement to establish a joint-venture company – Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) – to focus on lithium-ion battery business for wide-scale automotive application by 2009.The establishment of AESC demonstrates that both Nissan and NEC firmly believe that lithium-ion battery technology will become an important energy-source in achieving a sustainable mobile society. Both companies are confident that there will be a ready and growing market for lithium-ion batteries in the next decade and beyond.
Nissan and NEC Group will invest 490 million yen (approx. USD 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 become the leading company in mass production of lithium-ion batteries for the global automotive community using technologies developed by Nissan and NEC Group.
NEC and NEC TOKIN bring expertise in cell technology and battery manufacturing; while Nissan will focus on the cell stack for real-world application in electric-powered vehicles. AESC’s core product will be advanced lithium-ion batteries for automotive application and the company will be fully responsible to market its products to other potential customers in the auto industry.
AESC will mass produce lithium-ion batteries with a set of unique properties that makes them a highly competitive and appealing energy-generation solution for automotive application. Among the multiple advantages that the new batteries will offer are cutting-edge and environmentally-friendly technology, cost competitiveness, superior performance, safety, and versatility.
Nissan’s partnership with NEC represents a key component of its “Nissan Green Program 2010” mid-term environmental action plan, as announced in December, 2006. “As a ‘Sincere Eco-Innovator’, Nissan continues to develop forward-looking ‘green technologies’ that contribute to sustainable mobility. Nissan will introduce our own original hybrid vehicle by 2010, followed by our next generation electric vehicle in the early part of the next decade,” said Carlos Tavares, Executive Vice President of Nissan.
“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,” explained Tavares.
"NEC brings to the partnership years of knowledge, expertise, and resources in lithium-ion battery technology through NEC TOKIN’s know-how, cultivated through long years of experience in battery business. Further co-development with Nissan has enabled a superior-class battery that we expect to spread in the market at an unmatched speed due to the wealth of benefits it will assuredly bring to our future eco-conscious customers," said Konosuke Kashima, Executive Vice President of NEC. "Moreover, the alliance with Nissan guarantees Nissan as a prospective customer of AESC. We will also strive to accelerate growth by expanding marketing to auto manufacturers worldwide."