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Nissan's Battery Partner Envision AESC to Build a New $460 Million EV Battery Factory in Japan

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【Summary】​Nissan Motor Co's Chinese battery partner Envision Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) said on Wednesday it would spend 50 billion yen ($460 million) to build a new battery plant in Japan. The plant will supply batteries for Nissan’s future EVs and start mass production of battery cells in 2024.

FutureCar Staff    Aug 04, 2021 3:25 PM PT
Nissan's Battery Partner Envision AESC to Build a New $460 Million EV Battery Factory in Japan

Nissan Motor Co's Chinese battery partner Envision Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) said on Wednesday it would spend 50 billion yen ($460 million) to build a new battery plant in Japan's Ibaraki prefecture north of Tokyo. The plant will supply batteries for Nissan's future EVs.

Over the long term, Envision could invest over 100 billion yen in the plant, which would start mass production of battery cells in 2024, the company told Reuters.

AESC (Automotive Energy Supply Corporation) was established in 2007 as a joint venture between Nissan, NEC Corporation, and NEC Tokin Corporation to develop and produce high-performance lithium-ion batteries for cars.

Envision AESC is headquartered in Japan and has battery production plants in Kanagawa, Japan; Tennessee, and Sunderland, UK. China is the company's fourth production and R&D base. The factory in China will have a full annual production capacity of 20GWh, enough to supply around 400,000 electric vehicles (EVs) per year.

Battery maker Envision AESC started the mass production of the lithium-ion battery for the Nissan LEAF back in 2010. The Nissan LEAF won the "World Car Of The Year 2011" award and was one of the world's best selling electric vehicles before Tesla came along.

Nissan's Leaf was also one of the first mainstream electric cars for sale in the U.S., paving the way for automakers like Tesla to convince drivers to give up their gas-powered vehicles and switch to more environmentally friendly options.

Since the Leaf was introduced, Nissan has lagged behind rival automakers in delivering more electric vehicles. Faced with fallout over the arrest of its former CEO Carlos Ghosn in 2018 and declining vehicle sales, the Japanese automaker Nissan is now looking to regain its footing in the U.S.

In July 2020, Nissan unveiled its first fully-electric SUV called the Ariya, which will compete with the Tesla Model Y crossover and other new electric SUVs, including the Audi e-tron, Ford Mach-E and Hyundai Kona EV. Reservations for the Ariya will open by the end of the year and the electric SUV will go on sale next year.

Earlier this year, Nissan claimed that all of its "new vehicle offerings" in key markets, which include Japan, China, Europe, and the U.S., would be all-electric. 

Nissan's New Fully-electric Ariya Crossover May Help the Automaker Get Back on Track

The Nissan Ariya is the company's first electric crossover. It goes on sale next year in the U.S.

Nissan is not alone in its quest to secure a steady supply of EV batteries. Automakers around the world are building battery plants to support their future electric model lineups.

In April, Ultium Cells LLC, the joint venture of LG Energy Solution and U.S. automaker General Motors, announced a $2.3 billion plus investment to build a second EV battery cell manufacturing plant in the U.S. in Tennessee.

The factory will support GM's future EVs built in Tennessee. GM announced in Oct 2020 that it will invest $2 billion in its Spring Hill Manufacturing facility to build fully-electric vehicles, including the upcoming Cadillac LYRIQ crossover.

Also last year, Mercedes Benz parent Daimler AG announced it will strengthen its alliance with Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL). Mercedes Benz is counting on CATL to deliver battery packs capable of providing its future electric vehicles with at least a 435 mile (700 km) range, as well as offering faster recharging times.

CATL is also a battery supplier to Tesla along with Japan's Panasonic. Panasonic's jointly-developed batteries with Tesla are used for the company's U.S. built models, while CATL is its battery supplier for the China-made Model 3, which is being built at the company's Shanghai factory. 

Nissan's plans to build more EVs are part of its long term goal of becoming a carbon neutral company by 2050 and the new battery factory built by its partner in its home country of Japan will help support its efforts.

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