Nissan To Sell Battery Division To Envision Group

AUG 3 2018 BY MARK KANE 24

Nissan found a new buyer for its lithium-ion battery business after the deal with GSR Capital was cancelled.

LEAF Battery Pack Gets Assembled In Tennessee

The battery unit will be acquired by Envision Group, a sustainable energy operator, which just like GSR Capital is a Chinese company.

Under the definitive agreement, Envision will acquire Nissan’s electric battery operations and production facilities:

  • Nissan subsidiary Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC)
  • battery manufacturing operations in Smyrna, Tennessee, owned by Nissan North America Inc. (NNA)
  • battery manufacturing operations in Sunderland, England, owned by Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd. (NMUK)
  • Nissan’s Japanese battery development and production engineering operations located in Oppama, Atsugi and Zama

However, there is a catch… Nissan this time will not sell the entire battery business unit, but will retain 25% of it.

We believe Nissan will also continue to purchase 40 kWh battery packs from Envision, while separately it will switch to other suppliers for further versions (60 kWh) and models.

The making of a Nissan LEAF battery in Sunderland, UK (2014)

“The workforce at all facilities covered by the deal will continue to be employed. The headquarters and development centers of the business will remain in Japan.

Nissan will implement the transaction by first taking full control of AESC – founded in 2007 to develop advanced lithium-ion batteries – by acquiring the combined 49% minority holding held by NEC Corporation and its wholly owned electrode development and production subsidiary, NEC Energy Devices, Ltd (NECED).

NEC today announced its approval of the sale of AESC shares to Nissan and the sale of NECED shares to Envision.

Today’s announced transaction is subject to normal consultation with staff representative bodies and, pending regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed by March 29, 2019. The transaction is contingent on Nissan purchasing all shares in AESC and Envision concluding purchase of all NECED shares from NEC. Financial terms have not been disclosed.

Under the agreement, Nissan has agreed to retain a 25% share or equity interest in the entity newly formed by Envision.”

Yasuhiro Yamauchi, Nissan’s Chief Competitive Officer, said:

“We are pleased to have secured a definitive agreement with Envision, a leading global company in the field of sustainable energy. The transaction will enable Nissan to concentrate on developing and producing market-leading electric vehicles – in line with the goals set in our midterm plan Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022. We are confident that Envision will be a strong, long-term owner of the new company and that it will further grow as a battery company with increased competitiveness.”

Lei Zhang, founder and CEO of Envision, said:

“We are excited to announce the acquisition of Nissan’s battery business, a leading producer of advanced, safe and reliable lithium-ion batteries. Together with the battery business management team and its highly skilled workforce, this partnership will see Envision expand both organizations’ footprints into the intelligent energy ecosystem to create new innovative solutions for the IoT value chain. With this strategic acquisition and collaboration, we aim to expand our activities via investment into the new company to realize the value of IoT technology for smart transportation, V2G, and smart city solutions.”

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24 Comments on "Nissan To Sell Battery Division To Envision Group"

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William

FFS, finally we have an actual committed buyer! Unloading 75%, is still way better than nothing.

SJC

Thermally manage them, they have NO cobalt in the cathodes.

antrik

Are you referring to the fact that the original 24 kWh Leaf battery was LMO? While I’m not sure whether that has been ever officially confirmed, consensus seems to be that the newer batteries are just regular NMC…

Ron

If anyone really cared, it shouldn’t be too difficult for a metallurgist to test a cell from a wrecked car and find out what is the composition of the anode/cathode, etc.
Given AESC’s lack of cutting-edge superiority, I can’t think why anyone would pay for this analysis.

Pushmi-Pullyu

They might confirm that Nissan chose a very poor battery chemistry for the Leaf. As has been noted, the VW eGolf also lacks an active thermal management system, just like the Leaf, but hasn’t had widespread reports of premature battery fading like the Leaf. Likely VW chose a good battery chemistry, unlike Nissan.

But as you say, why would anyone spent money and effort on figuring out exactly what Nissan/ AESC’s inferior battery chemistry was? We know it was bad, that’s sufficient.

I still think Nissan made a stupid decision. Selling off its AESC factories, rather than licensing better battery cell chemistry from another cell manufacturer, just means it will have to build new battery cell factories to supply future plug-in EVs. Hopefully, next time Nissan will choose a battery cell manufacturing partner with access to better chemistry.

Dimitrij

Back in Sep 2017 (I think) when the “new” Leaf showed up with a meager 40 kWh capacity, I already had a bad feeling that Nissan most likely didn’t have the wherewithal to keep pace with other battery manufacturers.

Djoni

VW didn’t sell many EV to begin with, so who knows about battery’s degradation when there’s very few,if any been exposed as much as the Leaf who have been sold the world over.

Anton

Exactly. Nissan has both the blessing and the curse of selling an EV with the greatest market share in the world, so any problems are that much more public. I don’t know how many e-Golfs have been sold, but I expect it’s a fraction of the Leafs 300k, so

antrik

That assumes other battery makers would be willing to license their technology — and at a cost that wouldn’t make it more expensive than just buying finished cells from them…

I suspect there are good reasons why battery makers are doing both the R&D and manufacturing, rather than having separate entities cover these areas…

Lawrence

I had an eGolf for 3 years 42k Miles and the degradation at the end was 30% by the time I returned it.

Djoni

I suspect this was possible, but 30% is awfull, even worse than some Leaf.

I wonder if this is an outlier or a trend?

SJC

The 24 kWh and 30 kWh were manganese. With all the controversy about cobalt, this is a good time to use these. The manganese cathodes were not the problem, the lack of thermal management was.

antrik

Some research suggests that LMO is actually suffers more from heating than NMC… Not sure whether that’s generally true, though.

More importantly though, LMO just has too poor energy density to offer a range most people consider acceptable.

SJC

NMC will suffer capacity decline with heat.
“Temperature is known to have a significant impact on the performance, safety, and cycle lifetime of lithium-ion batteries..”

Cobalt gives more energy density but also fire danger. The energy density difference is not that much, reduce fire danger with no cobalt from the Congo.

antrik

The gravimetric energy density of nickel-rich NMC is almost double that of LMO.

antrik

Makes sense for them to be taken over by an energy company. For grid storage, it doesn’t matter if the technology is not bleeding edge, as long as they can make them cheap…

Nissan already did a bunch of demonstration projects, too.

EVer

Perhaps the new company will offer upgraded batteries for the 2011 to 2018 cars; there is a market of some 300,000 first generation cars that will need a second battery; why not just build the 40 kWh and offer it at a fair price as the replacement battery for all these cars…saves inventory money, etc. Hopefully, Nissan will have little input to this decision since their interests will cloud the need for logical thinking.

Antonio Briz Ena

My fluence ze has leaf cells too, and kangoo the same. They could repair batteries replacing cells. Two years waiting and Renault never change my battery. They say no stock.
I hope this new company support our batteries. Replace cell with new ones is so easy.

Djoni

++

Leafowner

I’d consider it for $3-4k (and they can have the old pack!)

jim stack

It’s much more than chemistry. I hope the new company gets new chem and liquid cooling. Tesla has both and their batteries hold up the best. Their new 2070 cells are also the best price and capacity per kg. Chevy ,FORD and FIAT have done good with their battery . Only Nissan and KIA have BIG problems in the HEAT. I know I live in the Phoenix area and drive 100% electric. I have leased and seen how bad the LEAF and SOUL EV are in the HEAT.

Djoni

I haven’t heard much about the Soul battery’s degradation.
Do you have proper information or links?

antrik

I doubt the new company will even try to make EV batteries, beyond the existing contracts with Nissan. They are interested in grid storage.

Leafowner

smells like a turd to me…