TOKYO (AP) – Nissan has announced that it will invest $ 17.6 billion over the next five years and develop a cheaper and more powerful battery to increase its range of electric vehicles.
Japanese automaker general manager Makoto Uchida said 15 new electric vehicles will be available by fiscal year 2030. Nissan Motor Co. is targeting 50% “electrification” of the company’s model lineup, under what Uchida called the “Nissan Ambition 2030” long-term plan. Electrified vehicles include hybrids and other types of environmentally friendly models other than electric vehicles.
The effort is primarily focused on electric vehicles to reduce emissions and meet the needs of various customers, 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 charges of financial misconduct.
Uchida made no mention of the scandal, but referred to the “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 classified as “a breakthrough” for being cheaper and generating more power than 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.
Thanks to battery innovation, the costs of electric vehicles will also drop to levels comparable to regular gasoline cars, Uchida said.
“Nissan has come out of a crisis and is ready to make 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 boost its research, including digital technology for vehicles.
Nissan, based in Yokohama, Japan, recently suffered from the computer chip shortage that has hit all automakers due to lockdowns and other measures at chip factories to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The maker of the luxury Infiniti models, the Leaf electric vehicle and the Z sports car expects a return to profitability for the fiscal year through March 2022 after racking up two consecutive years of losses.