Published on October 20th, 2014 | by James Ayre1
For Nissan, Battery Manufacturing Will Remain A Core Technology
October 20th, 2014 by James Ayre
While Nissan will — for the time being — continue to design and manufacture the batteries that it uses in its electric vehicles, it is open to the option of that changing in the future, according to the company’s president and CEO, Carlos Ghosn, in a recent interview.
The primary reason that the company does not source its batteries elsewhere currently — according to Ghosn — is simply, more or less, that there aren’t enough good batteries out there as of right now to allow for such a move.
“It’s a problematic question of the industry,” stated Ghosn, when he was asked at the recent Paris Motor Show how long Nissan intended to retain lithium-ion cells and battery packs as a core business.
He then likened the situation with batteries to that of the previous situation that automakers had when tire manufacturing was regarded as a core business — similarly because of a lack of strong industry and a competitive market for them.
“With electric cars, we consider that the reason for which we got involved with batteries, at the beginning, is we couldn’t find batteries good enough for our cars — so we decided to assemble our own batteries,” continued Ghosn. “And we will continue to do that as long as we don’t think there are enough good batteries on the market, or we don’t think there is competition to sustain the move on batteries.”
Green Car Reports provides more:
Our question follows a Reuters report earlier this month, suggesting that Nissan plans to cut battery manufacturing, phasing out US, [sic] and British production of proprietary packs as the brand would follow Renault in getting its batteries for next-generation products from South Korea’s LG Chem.
Ghosn insisted that batteries will remain a core technology for now: “The day these two conditions are filled, then we may question, ‘You know, why do we need to develop our own batteries?’ But today it’s not the case.”
That report from last month also noted that Nissan is seeking dual sourcing, and negotiating with NEC Corporation, another battery supplier — in addition to LG Chem.
“Today we are still seeing a lot of battery makers,” stated Ghosn, noting that some were becoming very competitive. “We selected one of them, by the way, to supply Renault needs, which is LG Chem (used in the Renault Zoe and Twizy).”
“We’ll continue to scrutinize the market,” concluded Ghosn. “As long as we don’t see many competitors in the battery business allowing us to be able to access the technology we want for our cars and allowing us to make competition work between the different suppliers, we’re going to continue to make our own batteries.”