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Nissan-NEC joint venture to produce lithium-ion batteries news
13 April 2007

Mumbai: Japan''s Nissan Motor Company and NEC Corporation and its subsidiary, NEC Tokin Corporation will form a joint venture company - Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) - to produce lithium-ion batteries to be used in electric and hybrid cars.

A Nissan-NEC breakthrough could put Japan''s third-biggest automaker back in the market, offering next-generation "green" vehicles, after trailing Toyota and Honda Motor Company for long.

Lithium-ion batteries, although considered unsafe, are key to lowering the cost of gasoline-electric hybrids as they can store power in a smaller and lighter stack.

The commonly used lithium Ion (Li-ion) battery is also undergoing a facelift that researchers expect will deliver more usage between charges, and shorter charge / discharge times, to mobile consumers within the next five years.

Based on a process called ''nanostructuring'', the new batteries can be built in very small sizes - measurable in nanometres - to shorten the distance between electrodes on either end of a Li-ion battery.

Under an initiative dubbed "Nissan Green Program 2010" unveiled in December, Nissan, held 44 per cent by Renault SA, set specific targets for cutting harmful emissions through stepped-up recycling efforts and the development of various engine and vehicle technologies.

That includes its own gasoline-electric hybrids, plug-in hybrids, pure electric and fuel-cell vehicles -- all of which would use lithium-ion batteries.

While car makers are increasingly turning to nickel-metal hydride batteries, industry sources say Toyota Motor Corporation is planning to launch the third generation of its popular Prius hybrid late next year using a lithium-ion battery.

Toyota, the world''s most profitable carmaker and the first to sell a gasoline-electric hybrid car in 1997, has a battery joint venture with Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. called Panasonic EV Energy Co., which mainly supplies to Toyota

Other automakers such as Honda, General Motors Corporation and DaimlerChrysler AG are also working on lithium-ion battery technology.


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Nissan-NEC joint venture to produce lithium-ion batteries