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Business deals

Nissan's EV battery unit recharged under Chinese ownership

Newly formed company aims to become world No. 2 supplier

Envision AESC makes lithium-ion batteries for Nissan's electric vehicles. (Photo by Tomoki Mera)

TOKYO -- Nissan Motor's electric-car battery business began its new life Monday under the majority ownership of the Envision group, a Chinese renewable energy concern.

Automotive Energy Supply Corp. now operates as Envision AESC Japan. The company falls under Envision AESC Group, the holding company Envision owns with Nissan in an 80-20 split.

Envision AESC also agreed to take control of Nissan's battery assets in the U.S. and U.K., as well as NEC Energy Devices, an NEC unit that produces battery electrodes.

Headquartered in Japan's Kanagawa Prefecture, Envision AESC is expected to command 6% of the global lithium-ion battery business for autos, putting it fifth behind the 10% held by South Korea's LG Chem. The aim is to lift the share to 20%, second only to Panasonic.

The group is building a 20 gigawatt-hour plant in China that is due to begin operations at the end of 2020. A local research and development hub is also in the works that will be responsible for customizing battery specifications for Chinese clients.

Production of next-generation batteries will begin next year, says Envision AESC. The company supplies 90% of its output to Nissan, but the client list is expected to widen to include Chinese and other automakers.

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