Nissan Motor Co., NEC Corp., and NEC Tokin Corp. announced on May 19, 2008, that their joint company, Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), are starting preparations to mass-produce advanced lithium-ion batteries for electric drive vehicles.
With an investment of 12 billion yen (about U.S.$114 million) over the next three years, AESC will build a new manufacturing line at Nissan's Zama plant in Kanagawa Prefecture for a start in operations in fiscal 2009. Annual production capacity is aimed at 13,000 units (one unit per vehicle) at the initial stage of operation, and will later be increased to 65,000 units. To meet AESC's demand, NEC Tokin will invest 11 billion yen (about $105 million) at NEC's Sagamihara facility in Kanagawa Prefecture to mass-produce electrodes.
Since being established in April 2007, AESC has been engaged in developing lithium-ion batteries for next-generation electric drive vehicles (hybrids, electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles). The batteries have a compact laminated structure that provides twice as much electric power compared to conventional cylindrical nickel batteries. Their safety and high-performance quality have been validated in field tests with actual vehicles, which demonstrated a long operating life of more than 100,000 kilometers.
At CeMAT 2008, one of the world's largest exhibitions on intralogistics (supply chain management), held in Germany this May, Nissan exhibited a concept model of an electric-powered forklift employing AESC's batteries. The production models of such forklifts are due to go on sale in 2009. In fiscal 2010, the automaker plans to launch electric vehicles and hybrids equipped with AESC's batteries in the United States and Japan.
source: Japan for Sustainability (www.japanfs.org)