Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi To Invest $1 Billion Into Battery Tech, Electric Car Development


New venture fund looks outside of Alliance boxes for breakthroughs

Ionic Materials is a young US-based company developing cobalt-free materials, such as polymers, for solid-state batteries. Now, it is the first beneficiary of a new venture fund founded by the automotive Alliance of Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi called, appropriately, Alliance Ventures.

Alliance chairman Carlos Ghosn announces new venture capital fund, Alliance Ventures

Poised to pump $200 million this year alone — $1 billion is planned for investment over the next five years — the fund will focus on financially backing various startups and other efforts in the field of mobility, with an emphasis on “vehicle electrification, autonomous systems, connectivity and artificial intelligence.” Led by François Dossa, most recently the CEO of Nissan Brasil, Alliance Ventures will burnish the €8.5 billion ($10.18 B) annual internal R&D efforts of the three partner companies.

Says Alliance chairman and CEO Carlos Ghosn of the scheme:

Our open innovation approach will allow us to invest and collaborate with start-up companies and technology entrepreneurs, who will benefit from the global scale of the Alliance. This new fund reflects the collaborative spirit and entrepreneurial mind-set at the heart of the Alliance.

When fully implemented, Alliance Ventures will have offices near the major technology centers of the world: Silicon Valley, Paris, Yokohama and Beijing, and help the Alliance partners achieve its 2022 goal of producing, among other things, 12 all-electric vehicles, using shared platforms and components. Obviously, if one (or more) of the recipients of this new investment develops a true commercially-viable breakthrough, the  benefits may be realized far beyond that.

Click on the video (above) to see some ballistic battery testing of the Alliance Ventures’ first recipient Ionic Materials.  You can get all the available details about this innovative venture fund in the official press release below:

Alliance Ventures To Prioritize Next-Generation Mobility With $200 Million Year-One Funding
  • New entity to act as main interface for start-ups, investors and the venture capital ecosystem
  • Fund prioritizes open innovation in new mobility, including electrification, autonomous systems, connectivity and artificial intelligence
  • First deal to be a strategic investment in Ionic Materials, a US company developing cobalt-free solid-state battery materials

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, the world’s leading automotive alliance, today announced the launch of Alliance Ventures, a new corporate venture capital fund that plans to invest up to $1 billion to support open innovation over the next five years.

In its first year, the fund expects to invest up to $200 million in start-ups and open innovation partnerships with technology entrepreneurs focused on new mobility, including vehicle electrification, autonomous systems, connectivity and artificial intelligence.

With further annual investments, Alliance Ventures is set to become the largest corporate venture capital fund in the automotive industry over the period of Alliance 2022, the strategic midterm plan launched last year by Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.

Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive officer of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, said: “Our open innovation approach will allow us to invest and collaborate with start-up companies and technology entrepreneurs, who will benefit from the global scale of the Alliance. This new fund reflects the collaborative spirit and entrepreneurial mind-set at the heart of the Alliance.”

The new fund is unique because it offers potential partners access to the global scale and scope of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, which sold more than 10 million vehicles in 2017 through 10 separate brands with a presence in all major automotive markets.

Alliance Ventures will invest in start-ups to bring new technologies and businesses to the Alliance while ensuring a fair financial return. The fund will make strategic investments at all start-up stages and will incubate both new automotive entrepreneurs and forge new partnerships.

The first deal by Alliance Ventures will be a strategic investment in Ionic Materials, a promising US-based company which is developing solid-state cobalt-free battery materials. The equity acquisition coincides with the execution of a joint-development agreement with the Alliance for the purpose of R&D cooperation. Ionic, based in Massachusetts, is the developer of a pioneering solid polymer electrolyte that enables improved performance and cost effectiveness of high-energy density batteries for automotive and multiple other applications.

By making such investments, Alliance Ventures will help identify and support the development of new technologies for potential use by Alliance members. Such initiatives are aligned with the objectives of Alliance 2022, which aims to strengthen cooperation and to double the annualized synergies generated by Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi Motors to more than €10 billion by the end of 2022.

The $200 million initial venture capital investment comes in addition to more than €8.5 billion in total annual research and development investments by the Alliance members.

Alliance Ventures will be led by François Dossa, who has over 20 years of experience in investment banking, plus six years of experience within the Alliance, most recently, as chief executive officer of Nissan Brazil. The Alliance Ventures team will also draw on the expertise and business opportunities identified by a Cross-Functional Team of experts from Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi.

This initiative complements the Alliance strategy to seek incremental revenues, cost savings and cost-avoidance in areas including electrification, autonomous drive systems and vehicle connectivity. The Alliance will launch 12 pure electric models by the end of the plan, utilizing common EV platforms and components, while also bringing to market 40 vehicles with autonomous drive technology and developing robo-vehicle ride-hailing services.

Alliance Ventures will define innovation areas and geographic markets for investment, working with existing research and advanced engineering teams, and will recruit venture capital experts to develop the platform. It is expected to be co-located in Silicon Valley, Paris, Yokohama and Beijing, close to the technology and research centers of the Alliance member companies, as well as to areas with strong innovation ecosystems.

Renault (40%), Nissan (40%) and Mitsubishi Motors (20%) will jointly fund the entity, which will have a dedicated investment committee to make investment decisions and monitor their performance.

“This investment initiative is designed to attract the world’s most promising automotive-technology start-ups to the Alliance,” said Carlos Ghosn.

As part of the Alliance 2022 strategic plan, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is forecasting that the combined revenues of its member companies will reach $240 billion and that annual unit sales will exceed 14 million by the end of 2022.

Source: Nissan

Category: Battery TechMitsubishiNissan, Renault,

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22 responses to "Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi To Invest $1 Billion Into Battery Tech, Electric Car Development"
  1. SJC says:

    cobalt-free materials

    At least they have identified a major barrier.

    1. Ambulator says:

      I don’t really understand that. I would expect cobalt electrodes to work fine with their new electrolyte.

    1. Get Real says:

      Yeah, eye roll at an obvious troll who wants to keep burning things.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “making batteries and solar panels are lot of environment damage than burning fuel”

        Almost certainly a shill for Big Oil. Rather unlikely that he actually believes that. I mean, there’s bull pucky… and then there’s unbelievable bull pucky!

        1. jim stack says:

          Push Pull, they are poor material for solar panels and batteries with no thermal management so in a few cases they may have a point. We need to take care of even good technology and try to make it better.

          All Lithium vehicle batteries should have thermal management for long long life.

          All Solar panels should be made out of non toxic materials (no CdTe so recycled at the end of their 50 years life.

          1. Scott says:

            Let me make it clear, boys… good batteries with no resistance means thermal management is pointless. Get that through your tiny heads.

      2. John Doe says:

        I think the problem is the staggering amounts of oil used a day.
        It is usually 90-100 million barrels a day!
        A barrel is 196 liters, or 42 US gallons.

        To make this, we would have to have huge facilities. It will also use a lot of land, and use resources we need for more important things.
        I think it could be used in limmited situations. Kind of like a hydrogen fuel cell based vehicle. I’m sure there is a market, but the main volume of cars will be EVs.

        ICE cars have increased in complexity, mostly due to environmental regulations. The complexity ads maintenance costs, and reduce the overall lifetime of the vehicle since people will not spend to much to repair an old car with low value.
        Even with biofuel, they need an ICE to make the car run.
        In Norway they add some biofuel to all gasoline and diesel.

        Bioethanol: Made from plants that contain sugar and starch, like corn, sugar cane, grains, potatoes, and is mixed in to regular gasoline. E5 is the most common mixed gasoline. About 10 percent of biofuel used in Norway today, is bioethanol.
        We hardly grow corn at all, and for sure not sugar cane. The grains we grow are mostly to feed animals (due to the low quality), and most potatoes are eaten by people, and the rest is eaten by animals.
        We don’t have a lot of farm land, so as an oil exporter – we have to import some of that bioethanol.
        When the US started to produce bioethanol from the massive amounts of corn they grow – global prices went up.
        I think we need the corn for food and feed – and not fuel.
        People in poor countries will suffer when corn, wheat, rice, potatoes increase in price.

        Biodiesel: Made of plant fat or oils, like rapeseed oil, soybean oil, palmeoil, and is mixed in regular diesel. FAME (Fatty acid-methyl-ester) based on rapeseeds are the most common type used in biodiesel in Europe and Norway today. About 90 percent of the biofuel used in Norway today is biodiesel.
        Palm oil and soybean oil are problem products, as they are one of the main reasons why rainforests are cut down. It is cheap, and is used in a lot of products. There are more and more products marked with: contains no palm oil. Soybean oil and soybeans are used in everything from animal feed to human food and fuel.
        Emission wice, biofuel is better – but we have to think about the whole picture.
        Just like.. if you eat a lot of meat, have dogs that eat meat, fly often, and think an EV can greenwash you, you are so wrong – a man with no dogs, and that has a lower meat content in his diet.. he will be better for the environment, even if he drives an ICE SUV. Planetrips excluded too.

        HVO: (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil) Is a type of biodiesel that can be made from a whole range of stuff, like plant oils, but in HVO more biproducts, waste materials, and what’s left after animals are butchered, some oil from woodprocessing, oil used in fast food friers, and so on. HVO is a more raffined product that can easily be mixed in a higher content in regualar diesel(like HVO30) or used as a pure product (HVO100).

        Biogas: Can be made from a lot of materials, like some plants, manure, wasteproducts from the wood and food industry, recycled food and biowaste. In Norway biogas is made from biological garbage, manure and the solid stuff from sewage treatment plants. This biogas can be upgraded to methane, and be used is cars/busses made for it. There are several buses and garbage trucks that use methane in Norway.

        For most people, an EV will be cheaper to run, quiet, require less maintenance . .

        I’m sure the other stuff creates a lot of jobs – but overall for the environment EVs are better.
        During a transition period, biofuel may contribute to reducing emissions for sure. But a rapid transition to EVs are important.
        It may contribute to save the rainforests, especially if customers demand food without soyseed oil, or palm oil – or at least make sure it is sourced from a supplier that does not cut down the rainforest.
        Reduce the amount of meat one eats, and eat chicken more often the meat from cows.
        As for fuel made from corn and wheat – it’s better used as food for people.

        1. J P DeCaen says:

          You put a lot of effort into your post so I’d like to thank you for that.

        2. Dan says:

          Arithmatic much? 42 gal is =/- 160 liters. The answer is a multi pronged approach with a substantial, ever increasing global refunded carbon tax (or at least for the major CO2 produces) that encourages the marketplace and human talent to come up with many solutions.

          Likely this will not happen (much) and climate change will run amok with terrible consequences for many species as well as humans, and among humans especially for the poor.

          1. Merkel says:

            If you’re going to be picky, at least get it right. 42 US gallons is 158.98 litres. I think rounding off to 159 is acceptable, but 160 is certainly not correct.

  2. Benz says:

    $200 million in 2018 (and $1 billion in 5 years) is a very substantial amount.

    Renault Nissan Mitsubishi are apparently seriously focused on EV devolopment.

    Thanks Carlos Ghosn

  3. ffbj says:

    I think they better put a few more billion in if they don’t want to get run over.

    Tesla refresh is probably go to the 2170 battery soon, which is why I think the Model was delayed. They sold down a lot of inventory and once the news gets out about how much the new cell is, and not just in theory, but in practice, the S & X will change over to the new architecture.

  4. JyChevyVolt says:

    Ionic materials is backed by Bill Joy. Promising battery which addresses lot of current battery issues.

    1. SJC says:

      Solid electrolyte is safer, there are no flammable liquids.

  5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “algee base bio fuel is the answer

    “mineing materials for batteries is much harm to environment than mine coal or oil…”

    So, you’re saying that using industrial agae pools…

    …to grow the feedstock for biofuels, fuels which have to be refined and transported before being used, hundreds or thousands of times over the lifetime of a car, refueling the car every week or so, magically makes all those industrial processes “greener” and less polluting than making a battery pack and disposing of it just once? A li-ion battery pack with such low toxicity that it can be legally thrown into a landfill?


    Either you are incredibly clueless about this subject, or else you are a shill for Big Oil. Or both.

    Reality check: Regardless of the origin of the fuel, whether it’s biofuel or petroleum, it still generates massive amounts of pollution when burned. Even if it has net zero carbon emissions, burning fuel in an ICE vehicle still emits massive amounts of air pollution which contains carcinogens and poisonous gases. Pollution that is not healthy for flowers, children… or even flower children.

  6. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Good to see that they are getting serious about investing in improving battery tech.

    Now, if they would only get as serious about actually building factories for manufacturing EV batteries, so they will have a reliable supply! And only a billion thrown at battery supply, for major auto makers like Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, would be a hopelessly small amount.

    1. EVer says:

      Nissan management is waking up after poor EV progress over 7 years and with Their first battery venture, with NEC a failure.

      They sold off the battery business and plan to use a supplier, LG Chem, for their 2018 Leaf and beyond.

      I wish them well as I swap away my Nissan Leaf with the obsolete batteries for a Tesla Model 3…a little wiser and never to trust or buy Nissan again.

    2. John Hollenberg says:

      Correct. BEV is not the future, it is here now! Six years in my Nissan Leaf, now in used Tesla model S. No need to wait for the future.

      Biofuels… a dead end for large scale applications like transporting humans.

  7. Jason says:

    Not to mention they sold off their battery business. That should have been the ideal platform to operate this from, and implement and advances through. Just seems backwards to sell off the battery business and then fund other battery businesses to get you a better battery.

  8. Kuk says:

    Why they already sold their own battery factory to China?

    1. MikeM says:

      Goodbye lella.
      Your work is done here!

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