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Mitsui invests in German electric vehicle charging startup

Japanese trading house expanding auto industry presence

TOKYO -- Mitsui & Co. has invested in a German green energy company specializing in electric vehicle charging systems, the Japanese trading house said Thursday.

Mobility House received an infusion in the hundreds of millions of yen (100 million yen equals $878,000). Mitsui did not disclose the size of the ownership, but the deal is large enough for the Japanese company to get a seat on Mobility House's board. German automaker Daimler on Wednesday said it also purchased a minority stake.

The Munich-based startup supplies charging stations for electric vehicles, with 15,000 stations registered in Europe, mainly in Germany. The company also formed a joint venture with Daimler and other partners to run a 13-megawatt battery storage unit in northwest Germany. The facility, which employs 1,000 recycled electric vehicle batteries, supplements power for the local feed-in renewable energy grid during peak use.    

Other projects include a deal with Japan's Nissan Motor to make Amsterdam Arena more energy efficient through a 4MW battery storage system. The pair is also engaged in installing bidirectional charging stations in underground parking garages that enable electric vehicles to power offices.

The investment in Mobility House is part of Mitsui's strategy to expand its footprint in the automotive industry, positioned as a growth area. In the U.S., the Japanese company lifted its stake in Penske Truck Leasing last month, and is financing California electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors.

(Nikkei)

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