Nissan in talks to sell its EV battery manufacturing business
31 May 2017
Japanese car maker Nissan is looking to sell its stake in its Automotive Energy Supply Corp (AESC) business to a Chinese consortium led by GSR Capital. The business supplies batteries for the manufacturer’s Leaf models, as well as the Renault Zoe electric vehicle (EV).
AESC is a joint venture between Nissan and NEC, with the car maker owning a majority 51% stake in the firm. It produces the lithium ion batteries used in the company’s EV range, and those of its alliance stablemate Renault. The company has stated that it is committed to producing the best electric vehicle solutions and continually evaluates its business strategy in pursuit of optimal products and business structure. It is possible that following any sale, batteries could be sourced from another supplier.
While talks are believed to be continuing, there is no deal yet in place, according to Bloomberg. However the move makes sense as China looks to invest further in EV technology, the Chinese government has required EV producers to choose from a list of approved battery vendors, all domestic makers, to receive subsidies.
The move highlights the difficulties that automotive manufacturers face when it comes to battery technology. With companies such as Tesla investing heavily in the field to increase range and lifetime, companies either need to pump money into their own manufacturing plants or save money by working with a partner which already has the technology. Daimler has chosen the first option by beginning work on a new European gigafactory in Germany, which will produce batteries for its new range of EVs as well as for energy storage systems.
Nissan may use the sale to forge a connection with LG Chem, a company that has already been working with its alliance partner Renault on a number of other projects. The sale of AESC is expected to raise $1 billion (€890 million) which could be invested in buying batteries and improving the company’s EV platforms.
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