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Nissan to sell EV battery biz

August 10, 2016
Energy & Chemical Value Chain

Nissan may be ditching its electric and hybrid battery business.

The Japanese automaker is reportedly in talks with Panasonic and other overseas companies to sell its majority stake in EV battery maker Automotive Energy Supply, which is jointly owned by Nissan and Japan’s NEC Corp. According to Japan’s Nikkei newspaper, Nissan hopes to save money by switching to external suppliers.

Nissan, however, denies the rumor.

“Today’s reporting on Nissan and its battery business is speculation, and is not based on any announcement by us,” a Nissan spokeswoman told PCMag in an emailed statement. “Nissan is committed to producing the best possible EV solutions for our customers. To that end, we continuously evaluate our business strategy in pursuit of optimal products and business structure.”

Neither Panasonic nor NEC immediately responded to requests for comment.

The electric-vehicle battery market is heating up as manufacturers begin to produce more low-emission cars. Tesla, for example—which buys EV batteries from Panasonic—expects to boost its vehicle production to 500,000 in 2018, according to Reuters.

Nissan’s own environmentally friendly Leaf (pictured), has not proven quite as popular, and, as a result, Nissan and NEC have been unable to recoup costs through mass production, the news site said.

As Nikkei pointed out, the Japanese firm has plenty of local competition, as well: Chinese and South Korean lithium-ion battery makers are growing in scale as manufacturing costs decline.

While Panasonic’s 47 percent share held two years ago dropped to 34 percent in 2015, “other” manufacturers—those not comprising the top five biggest firms—boosted their aggregate share from 14 percent to 33 percent, Nikkei reported, citing Tokyo-based Techno Systems Research.

Nissan, meanwhile, is also in the process of selling its 41 percent stake in auto parts supplier Calsonic Kansei Corp, Reuters said.

By Stephanie Mlot

Source: PC Mag

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