Nissan confirmed Friday that its electric car battery manufacturing division will be sold to Envision Group, a Chinese energy company specializing in renewables and energy management systems.
The confirmation comes following the cancellation of an earlier deal to sell the division to another firm.
Nissan's battery manufacturing division includes the subsidiary Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) as well as manufacturing facilities in the United States (Smyrna, Tennessee), the United Kingdom (Sunderland, England) and Japan (Oppama, Atsugi and Zama).
Envision will establish a new division responsible for battery manufacturing, in which Nissan will retain a 25 percent stake. The good news for existing workers is that they will continue to be employed, and the headquarters and development centers of the respective sites will also be maintained.
2018 Nissan Leaf
“We are excited to announce the acquisition of Nissan’s battery business, a leading producer of advanced, safe and reliable lithium-ion batteries,” Envision CEO and founder Lei Zhang said in a statement. “With this strategic acquisition and collaboration, we aim to expand our activities via investment into the new company to realize the value of [Internet of Things] technology for smart transportation, [Vehicle-to-Grid], and smart city solutions.”
Nissan's battery manufacturing division is one of the biggest in the world when it comes to automotive lithium-ion batteries, but the automaker recently turned to external suppliers, most notably with the redesigned Nissan Leaf whose upcoming long-range model will use batteries supplied by South Korea's LG Chem, so the decision to sell doesn't come as a complete surprise.
Nissan says the move lets it concentrate on developing more electric cars. Recall, Nissan and alliance partners Renault and Mitsubishi plan to launch 12 electric cars by 2022.
Meanwhile, Tesla already has a battery plant located in Nevada and is likely to add more as its car production expands into new regions. A number of German automakers also have aggressive plans to expand their battery production, in particular Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler, which like Tesla is also offering energy storage solutions for homes and businesses.