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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Renault-Nissan plans 4 lithium-ion battery plants in Europe

The Renault-Nissan alliance plans to build up to four factories in Europe over the coming years to produce lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

"In Europe, we haven't made the final decisions, but we will soon," said Colin Dodge, Nissan's executive vice president for the Africa, Middle East, India and Europe region. Localizing battery production will be a key element of Renault-Nissan's plans to launch electric vehicles across Europe starting in 2011, Dodge said during a zero-emission mobility workshop at Nissan's European headquarters here.

Last month, Nissan opened its first battery plant in Japan and announced it would start producing batteries in the U.S. state of Tennessee in 2010. Nissan executives say CEO Carlos Ghosn will unveil the company's first purpose-built electric vehicle in early August in Tokyo.

Nissan will launch this new electric vehicle in 2011 in markets such as Portugal, Denmark, Israel, the United States and Japan. The car's global launch will follow in 2012, Dodge said. Renault plans to begin selling electric vehicles in 2011, although its initial efforts will focus on zero-emission versions of a mid-sized sedan and light commercial vehicle originally designed for internal combustion engines.

Renault's first all-new electric vehicles are expected to go on the market in late-2011 and 2012.

Site selection

Dodge said that Nissan would prefer to produce its 250kg lithium-ion battery packs close to its vehicle assembly sites -- the carmaker has factories in the U.K. and Spain -- but insists that logistics costs linked to production at remote sites can be surmounted.

"The logistics cost of transport will actually be pretty low when compared with the long-term cost and depreciation of the battery," he said. Renault has already indicated plans to build electric vehicles in France. Portugal has made a very strong commitment toward the launch of zero-emission vehicles, including purchase-price subsidies for individual buyers and state funding for a planned charging network.

Nissan executives said that governments that offer generous funding and assistance with the electric car launch may benefit in the form of battery production sites.

Production target

Nissan and joint venture partner NEC have spent 80 million euros on their battery factory in Japan. The Automotive Energy Supply Corp plant is initially expected to produce 13,000 lithium-ion battery packs a year. The plant has the installed capacity to make 65,000 units annually. Dodge sees the 65,000-unit capacity figure as a minimum target for all planned battery plants. "It's not like a car plant, where you need 300,000 to 500,000 units annually," Dodge said. "Battery factories can be economically efficient in the 65,000 to 130,000 range,"

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1 comment:

Sergius said...

Expected for about 2015, great news in advances for more efficient lithium cathodes batteries.
Many studies and researches at MIT and Rice University about carbon and silicon nanotubes must have promisingly conclusions till there.

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