Japanese Private $1 Billion Li-Ion Battery Investment Shames US

While Li-ion battery makers in the US are going cap-in-hand to the government in search of federal aid to keep up with foreign companies, it's been rumored that Nissan and NEC are about to invest around $1 billion of their own capital into making batteries for electric cars.

The two companies plan to put at least $1.1 billion into building a new Li-ion battery plant in around 2011, producing enough batteries for 200,000 vehicles annually. The Japanese firms are already partnering with NEC Tokin (an NEC spin-off) to push power cells for around 13,000 vehicles next year, ramping up to 65,000 by 2011—these are initially vehicles like forklifts, but they'll also go into Nissan electric and hybrid vehicles scheduled for 2010 (pictured is its concept swiveling-wheel Pivo electric vehicle.)

The new venture will be dubbed the Automotive Energy Supply Corp., and may also consider factory locations in Europe or, ironically, the US—locations made attractive by government incentives for green-tech factories. The AESC also plans to deliver power units to other companies for inclusion in their electric vehicles. Nissan is partnering with Renault, for example, to produce its own hybrid and all-electric cars.

The automotive industry may be about to reinvent itself, it seems.

[Reuters via RegHardware]

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  • Dave Tool

    Apparently Nissan & Renault have decided to build the advanced lithium-ion batter plants in the UK & Portugal. The countries respective governments have offered to extend financial assistance and other support to ensure that Nissan locates the proposed plants within their countries. Last November, Portugal became the first European country to sign a final agreement with the Nissan-Renault Alliance for implementing a zero emission mobility program from 2010. Within this plan, the Alliance will supply its electric vehicles from Spring 2011, and the Portuguese Government will supply a network of 1,300 battery recharging stations that will be in place across Portugal over the next 2 years.

  • Matt Medeiros

    and the real question is, do the US li-ion battery makers NEED the money or WANT the money? To me it's just an opportune time for them to play the "green" card because why would anyone "not want to help alternative energy."