Nissan and NEC begin electricifying joint venture

By: Greg Worrall

Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), the joint venture between Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., NEC Corporation, and its subsidiary NEC TOKIN

Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), the joint venture between Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., NEC Corporation, and its subsidiary NEC TOKIN Corporation has officially comenced operations.

Announced in April 2007, AESC will focus on the development and mass production of advanced lithium-ion batteries for a wide range of automotive applications from hybrids, electric vehicles to fuel-cell vehicles. NEC and NEC TOKIN bring their expertise in cell-technology and electrode production, while Nissan will contribute from its long experience in real-world vehicle application.

The high-performance lithium-ion batteries employ a compact laminated configuration which delivers twice the electric power compared to conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries with a cylindrical configuration. Based on on-going vehicle field tests, AESC’s batteries have been validated to be safe, demonstrating high-performance qualities, on average runs of more than 100,000 km.

"Nissan firmly believes the ultimate solution for sustainable mobility lies in zero emission vehicles. Electric vehicles represent one clear strategic direction embedded in Nissan GT 2012, our new mid-term business plan," says Carlos Tavares, executive vice president of Nissan.

‘‘NEC’s expertise in developing safe and low-cost lithium-magnanese batteries combined with NEC TOKIN’s strength in electrode-material technology and production will contribute significantly to AESC’s competitiveness," says Konosuke Kashima, Executive Vice President of NEC.

"By promoting AESC’s batteries for wide-scale vehicle application, NEC is doing our part for the global environment by contributing to help reduce CO2 emissions.’’

The first commercial application for AESC’s li-ion batteries is destined for forklifts for small business operators in 2009.

This will be followed by Nissan’s electric vehicle, to be introduced in the U.S. and Japan, as well as Nissan’s original hybrid vehicle in 2010.

By 2012, Nissan has announced its plans to mass-market electric vehicles to consumers globally, which will boost demand for batteries significantly.

AESC has also been appointed as a supplier of li-ion batteries to Project Better Place.

The $200 million-backed Palo Alto, Calif., venture aims to reduce global dependency on oil through the creation of a market-based transportation infrastructure that supports electric vehicles, providing consumers with a cleaner, sustainable, personal transportation alternative.

Project Better Place and the Renault-Nissan Alliance are planning for the first wide-scale deployment of zero emission vehicles in Israel and Denmark in 2011.

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