Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), Japanese auto giant Nissan's joint venture with NEC and its subsidiary NEC Tokin, is to invest $114.6m over a three-year period building a lithium-ion battery manufacturing plant in Japan.
Located at Nissan's Zama facility in Kanagawa Prefecture, the plant will initially produce 13,000 units a year, ramping to 65,000 units per year.
'NEC's expertise in developing batteries combined with NEC Tokin's strength in electrode-material technology and production will contribute significantly to AESC's competitiveness,' said Konosuke Kashima, executive vice president of NEC.
To support AESC's production demand, NEC's division will invest $105.1m over the next three years at its NEC Sagamihara Plant in Kanagawa Prefecture to mass produce lithium-manganese electrodes for the batteries.
The high-performance lithium-ion batteries that the joint venture will build employ a compact laminated configuration which delivers twice the electric power compared to conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries with a cylindrical configuration.
AESC's lithium-ion batteries will eventually be deployed in a Nissan electric car as well as a hybrid vehicle which will be introduced in the US and Japan in 2010. By 2012, Nissan has announced its plans to mass-market electric vehicles to consumers globally, which will boost demand for batteries significantly.
The batteries will also be marketed to other automotive manufacturers worldwide.