Nissan sells its Battery manufacturing business to GSR Capital -- Preparing switch to LG Chem batteries?
August 8, 2017; Date:
Since launching the LEAF, Nissan's battery packs came from its subsidiary Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC). That subsidiary is now being sold to GSR Capital. The deal is being spun as a win-win as GSR Capital has deep pockets necessary to develop this battery business faster than Nissan could. Supposedly.
That might be accurate, ...or... It's long been rumored that Nissan wants to switch to LG Chem battery packs. If Nissan had switched to LG Chem batteries by now, the 2018 Leaf (due to be released soon) might have had a 200+ mile range with a 60 kWh pack. Instead the 2018 Leaf is rumored to have a 40 kWh pack which would give a respectable-but-not-competitive 150-180 mile range.
According to CleanTechnica, NEC also sold its portion of this business to GSR Capital. According to Nikkei, where Panasonic had a growing EV battery marketshare due to its partnerships with Tesla and Toyota and others, NEC relied on Nissan and Nissan is looking to broaden its battery supply chain.
Nissan originally built batteries in Japan. With the shift to localized Leaf production in 2013, Nissan launched battery factories in both England and Tennessee. The original vision was that owning the battery factory would give Nissan an economic/price advantage. One supposes that would have only held true if Leaf sales had risen enough, but instead Leaf sales have held steady for several years.
In any case, the Renault side of the Nissan-Renault alliance already uses LG Chem batteries. That partnership has been very good for adoption of the Renault Zoe in Europe. A Leaf with better batteries should sell very well.
YOKOHAMA, Japan – Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (Nissan) today announced it has entered into a definitive sale and purchase agreement with GSR Capital (GSR), a private investment fund, for the sale of Nissan's electric battery operations and production facilities to GSR.
The sale and purchase agreement covers Nissan's battery subsidiary, Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), as well as battery manufacturing operations in Smyrna, Tennessee, owned by Nissan North America Inc. (NNA), and in Sunderland, England, owned by Nissan Motor Manufacturing (U.K.) Ltd. (NMUK). Assets sold to GSR will also include part of Nissan's Japanese battery development and production engineering operations located in Oppama, Atsugi and Zama.
Hiroto Saikawa, president and chief executive officer of Nissan, said: "This is a win-win for AESC and Nissan. It enables AESC to utilize GSR's wide networks and proactive investment to expand its customer base and further increase its competitiveness. In turn, this will further enhance Nissan's EV competitiveness. AESC will remain a very important partner for Nissan as we deepen our focus on designing and producing market-leading electric vehicles."
Sonny Wu, chairman of GSR Capital, added: "The acquisition of AESC represents an important step for us in the new energy vehicle industry chain. We plan to further invest in R&D, expand existing production capacity in the U.S., UK and Japan, and also establish new facilities in China and Europe, enabling us to better serve customers around the world. With these capabilities and plans added to the battery business' already skilled workforce, high technical capabilities and proven product-quality track record, we will be in a very good position for growth."
The workforce at all facilities covered by the deal, including the production plants at Zama, Sunderland and Smyrna, will continue to be employed. The headquarters and development centers of the business will remain in Japan.
Nissan will implement the transaction by first taking full control of AESC – founded in 2007 to develop advanced lithium-ion batteries – by acquiring the combined 49% minority holding held by NEC Corporation and its wholly owned battery and electrode subsidiary, NEC Energy Devices, Ltd (NECED).
NEC today announced its approval of the sale of AESC shares to Nissan and the fact that it is in negotiations with GSR for the sale of NECED.
Today's announced transaction is subject to normal consultation with staff representative bodies and, pending regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed by the end of December 2017. The transaction is contingent on GSR concluding purchase of all NECED shares from NEC. Financial terms have not been disclosed.
About Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, INFINITI and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2016, the company sold 5.63 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.72 trillion yen. Nissan engineers, manufactures and markets the world's best-selling all-electric vehicle in history, the Nissan LEAF. Nissan's global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has a global workforce of 247,500 and has been partnered with French manufacturer Renault under the Renault-Nissan Alliance since 1999. In 2016, Nissan acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors, which became the third member of the Alliance – a grouping with combined annual sales of almost 10 million units a year.
For more information about our products, services and commitment to sustainable mobility, visit nissan-global.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn and see all our latest videos on YouTube.
About GSR Capital
GSR Capital is a leading private investment fund with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Palo Alto. The firm focuses on investments in high growth sectors in electric vehicles, new energy, modern agriculture, healthcare and wireless technologies.
Source: GreenTransportBlink is often broken leaving EV owners high and dry so often. We need ubiquitous and reliable charging infrastructure.