Nissan, Nec Soon to Offer Advanced Batteries

By: Anthony Fontanelle

The Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and the NEC Corporation have signed an agreement to establish a joint venture that is primarily intended to produce lithium-ion battery. The advanced batteries are formulated to cater to wide-scale automotive application by 2009.

The Japanese automaker and NEC have agreed to invest 490 million yen (which is approximately $4.1 million) in the said venture. AESC is expected to start operations by the end of this month. The company will function as an independent company.

The AESC will concentrate on the development and marketing of advanced lithium-ion batteries, engineered to power next generation electric-powered vehicles. Next year, the partnership of the companies will be expanded to cover mass production and sales. The new joint venture is expected to become the leading company to engage in the mass production of advanced lithium-ion batteries to be offered worldwide.

The Japanese automaker will concentrate on the cell stack for real-world application in electric-powered vehicles while NEC will focus in cell technology and battery manufacturing. Advanced lithium-ion batteries, the core product of the joint venture, will be offered around the globe to serve as an extremely viable and engaging energy-generation solution for automotive application. Among the bunch of advantages that the new batteries will deliver are refined and environmentally-friendly technology, superb performance, cost competitiveness, safety, and versatility.

According to the automaker, the established partnership mirrors the key component of its "Nissan Green Program 2010" mid-term environmental action plan, as announced in December last year. "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, the 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, the 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."

The partnership is aiming to promote cleaner powertrains for the hybrids, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles. The batteries will be especially engineered to complement auto parts like engines, , brakes and more. Both companies are confident that there will be a ready and growing market for lithium-ion batteries in the next decade and beyond.

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