Nissan has announced a collaboration with Chinese company Sunwoda Electric Vehicle Battery to develop next-generation batteries for its e-Power vehicles jointly. The negotiations also include a production system to ensure a stable supply capacity for the shared cells.
Nissan and Sunwoda aim to conclude a final agreement by the end of this year, following a study into the new batteries for Nissan’s hybrid-electric vehicles that utilise the company’s e-Power drive. It is a serial hybrid system, which the Japanese like to market as range-extending technology. An electric motor always drives the wheels. This motor does not draw its power directly from a large traction battery but is supplied with energy by a combustion engine, which in turn drives a generator.
So far, the technology has only been available in Japan and lately Thailand. Nissan in its current press statement, however, say they are planning to “globally expand the technology into the B- and C-segments” and expect to sell more than 1 million electrified vehicles annually by the end of the fiscal year 2023. Still, following the recent plans to restructure and realign the alliance, Nissan will primarily concentrate on markets in Asia, namely China and Japan as well as North America.
This focus is part of the reasoning behind looking into an alliance with Sunwoda. Nissan emphasises the company’s “established global track record in the development of lithium-ion batteries,” mainly used in consumer electronics and automotive batteries and adds, that the joint activities will happen with an “eye to strengthening competitiveness in the Chinese market and globally”.
Apart from this, discussions by the companies naturally will focus on combining Nissan’s expertise in electric vehicles with Sunwoda’s battery development capabilities and production capacity. As mentioned, the companies are also considering the joint establishment of a secure supply structure “geared toward future global business opportunities,” but fail to deliver any details so far.
On its home market, Nissan is sworn to electrify its entire line-up. The upcoming hybrid models already announced are the Kicks SUV, which comes to Japan this summer. The X-Trail SUV will also be offered as a hybrid when updated next year, all using the Nissan e-Power system also utilised in the Note.
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