Nissan forms battery venture

In an effort to jump-start the mass production of lithium-ion batteries – long-lasting batteries ideally suited for hybrid vehicles – Nissan Motor Co., fellow Japanese firm NEC Corp. and subsidiary, NEC Tokin Corp., are forming a special joint-venture company.

In an effort to jump-start the mass production of lithium-ion batteries – long-lasting batteries ideally suited for hybrid vehicles – Nissan Motor Co., fellow Japanese firm NEC Corp. and subsidiary, NEC Tokin Corp., are forming a special joint-venture company.

Called Automotive Energy Supply Corp. (AESC), Nissan said it expects the joint venture to begin mass-producing lithium-ion batteries for vehicle applications by 2009.

“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,” said Carlos Tavares, Nissan executive vp. “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.”

Nissan and NEC Group will invest $4.1 million in the partnership and Tavares said AESC is expected to begin operations by the end of April, operating as an independent company.

He noted that NEC and NEC Tokin bring expertise in cell technology and battery manufacturing to the joint venture, while Nissan’s engineers will focus on creating a cell stack for real-world application in electric- and hybrid-powered vehicles.

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