Nissan invests in electric vehicles and battery development

Nissan said Monday it will invest 2 trillion yen ($17.6 billion) over the next five years and develop a cheaper, more powerful battery to bolster its electric vehicle lineup.

The Japanese automaker’s chief executive, Makoto Uchida, said 15 new electric vehicles will be available by fiscal year 2030. Nissan Motor Co. is aiming to “electrify” 50% of the company’s model lineup, as part of what Uchida called the “Nissan Ambition 2030”. long term plan. Electrified vehicles include hybrids and other types of environmentally friendly models other than just electric vehicles.

The effort is primarily focused on electric vehicles to reduce emissions and meet diverse customer needs, Uchida said. Nissan will also reduce carbon emissions at its factories, he added.

The company is struggling to put the scandal of its former president Carlos Ghosn behind it. Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades after being sent to Japan by French alliance partner Renault, was arrested in Tokyo in 2018 on various financial misconduct charges.

Uchida made no mention of the scandal but referred to “past mistakes” he promised not to repeat at Nissan.

Nissan’s ‘electrification’ hinges on the development of a new ASSB, or all-solid-state battery, which it has called a ‘breakthrough’ because it is cheaper and generates more power than conventional batteries currently in use.

This means that electric powertrains can be more easily used in trucks, vans and other heavier vehicles because the batteries can be smaller. The ASSB will be in mass production by 2028, according to Nissan.

The costs of electric vehicles will also drop thanks to battery innovation to levels comparable to those of regular gas-powered cars, Uchida said.

“Nissan has come out of a crisis and is ready for a fresh start,” he said.

All major automakers, including Nissan’s Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp., are working on electric vehicles, amid growing concerns about climate change and sustainability. Global consumers are also demanding more security features.

Uchida said Nissan is hiring 3,000 engineers to bolster its research, including digital technology for vehicles.

Nissan, based in Yokohama, Japan, has recently suffered from the computer chip shortage that has hit all automakers due to shutdowns and other measures at chip factories to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The maker of Infiniti luxury models, the Leaf electric vehicle and the Z sports car forecasts a return to profitability for the fiscal year through March 2022 after racking up two straight years of losses.

About Mohammed B. Hale

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