Nissan in talks to sell its controlling stake in car battery joint venture AESC

Japanese carmaker Nissan Motor Co is in talks with Panasonic Corp and other overseas companies including Chinese firms on the potential sale of its controlling stake in a car battery manufacturing joint venture, Japanese newspaper yesterday reported.

Nissan is seeking to sell its 51-per cent stake in Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a maker of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.

AESC was established 2007 as a joint venture between Nissan, NEC Corp and its subsidiary NEC TOKIN Corp. NEC Corp holds a 42 per cent stake, while NEC TOKIN holds the remaining 7 per cent.

The Zama City-based company manufactures lithium-ion cells, modules, and battery packs and is used by Nissan in its best-selling electric vehicle the Nissan Leaf. But Nissan has been rumored to be working with LG Chem of South Korea for its next generation battery pack.

In 2014 AESC was the second-largest electric vehicle battery manufacturer worldwide after Panasonic, with 21 per cent market share.

In late 2014, Reuters reported conflict within the Nissan - Renault carmaker alliance over sourcing of battery packs for its UK and the US car battery plants due to lack of price competitiveness with rival cell manufacturer LG Chem.