Nissan acquires shares of Vehicle Energy Japan Inc. (VE-J). The company is involved in the automotive lithium-ion batteries business. Nissan has a goal to include electric vehicles in its core business strategy.
VE-J is quite a comprehensive company, which develops, manufactures, and sells lithium-ion batteries, battery modules, and battery management systems. However, its focus is on hybrids. Considering that Vehicle Energy Japan already supplies batteries for the Nissan Kicks e-Power and Nissan Note e-Power models (series, non-rechargeable hybrids), it might suggest that Nissan will continue to expand this branch of electrification.
According to the press release, Nissan will acquire a stake in VE-J from INCJ (the amount has not been disclosed) and participate in the upcoming capital increase round, ultimately turning the company into its subsidiary. The other existing shareholders – Maxell Ltd. (formerly, Maxell Holdings, Ltd.,) and Hitachi Astemo, Ltd. (formerly, Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd.) will remain on board. “Nissan will acquire all the common shares of Vehicle Energy Japan held by INCJ, Ltd. and subscribe to common shares issued by Vehicle Energy Japan. Following the transaction, Vehicle Energy Japan will become a consolidated subsidiary of Nissan, in which it will hold shares alongside existing shareholders Maxell, Ltd. and Hitachi Astemo, Ltd.”
Investment into batteries
The company offers high-power lithium-ion cells, which can deliver up to 6.3-7 kW of power per kg. But the high-power cells for hybrids usually do not shine in the energy density category. In this case, it’s just around 100 Wh/kg (114 Wh/kg for the 8 Ah cells). Nissan explains that the investment will secure a stable battery supply (for Nissan and other customers) as well as contribute to the development of next-generation batteries.
Last week, Nissan’s rival Honda Motor Co recently said that it had formed a partnership with trading company Hanwa Co to secure a stable supply of essential metals used in batteries for electrified vehicles. Nissan’s acquisition of Vehicle Energy Japan is framed as part of its larger Ambition 2030 vision, which aims to create significant value beyond the mobility sector as well as center electrification in its business strategy. Nissan unveiled its Ambition 2030 strategy in November 2021, which also promised the launch of 23 new electrified models including 15 new EVs by 2030. Unlike some companies, though, Nissan is only aiming at 50 percent electrification by the end of the decade. A stable supply of battery materials is among the many challenges being faced by automakers worldwide as stricter environmental regulations accelerate the production and sales of cleaner, electrified cars.