As we take stock of our situations during the global economic downturn, everyone is looking to implement new strategies that will not simply band-aid the problem so to speak. What most are concerned with are alternatives that allow permanent change to take effect. To reduce the bad habits and practices that caused the negative effects to begin with.
The first company we take a look at is hot on the heals of just such a solution. Nissan Motor Co. announced in July that they, along with its subsidiary NEC TOKIN Corporation, have begun trial production of an advanced Lithium-Ion battery thru its join joint-venture company – Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC). AESC has the aim of becoming a global leader in advanced battery products and services, and intends to mass produce and market its batteries to any interested automaker. This marks the start of a strong effort by Nissan to move toward a Zero Fossil Fuel culture.
They have taken very large steps in making an automotive future of Zero Fossil Fuels a reality with just the type of support and backing needed to breathe life into a tangible structure to support it. Back in July the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced that it was partnering with the U.K. and Portuguese governments to build two plants for the production of advanced Lithium-Ion batteries in Europe for what it calls its Zero Emission Mobility Program.
Having twice the energy density of conventional nickel-hydride batteries, AESC’s advanced Lithium-Ion batteries employ a compact module comprised of laminated-type cells that contribute to more efficient packaging. The use of manganese-type electrode offers thermal stability and the laminated structure improves cooling, thus contributing to the battery’s safety performance. The battery has undergone extreme durability tests demonstrating average runs of more than 100,000 Km. That’s 60,000 Miles!
The effects on the automotive industry are obvious and revolutionary. Not to mention the long term benefits to the national and regional health of the countries that welcome the production facilities. The automotive and associated industries can look forward to a boost in jobs, growth in the skills sector, as well as having bragging rights to pioneering the manufacturing of Zero Emission Vehicles in Europe.
Portugal and the U.K. have show that they recognize the impact of this initiative and extended more than just financial support to ensure that Nissan locates the plants in their countries. Talks are continuing with other governments in Europe to identify more locations for other battery plants in an effort to meet expected production requirements.
Specifics for the U.K. site have not yet been detailed; once they are the plant is expected to be located in Sunderland, England where Nissan already ahs an existing manufacturing facility. This Sunderland location is planned to be the Nissan European Mother Site for battery production and the centerpiece for the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area in the North East of England. As part of the newly established Low Carbon Economic Area, local government intends to establish a new training centre, specializing in low carbon automotive technologies; a technology park and an open access test track for low carbon vehicles.
Nissan Senior Vice President for Manufacturing, Europe, Trevor Mann said: “In March Nissan and regional development agency One North East signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing both partners to explore fully the North East’s potential to spearhead the U.K.’s drive towards Zero Emissions Mobility.”
“Since then, a great deal of work has been going on at both the local and national level to promote and facilitate the introduction of electric vehicles within the region. Today’s announcement potentially marks another important milestone in establishing low carbon transport as a viable and attractive alternative across the North East and beyond, and reinforces Nissan’s commitment to lead the world in the mass-marketing of zero emission vehicles.”
The plans for Portugal are the most exciting part of this report. The first European country to sign a final agreement with Renault-Nissan, Portugal will be implementing a Zero Emissions Mobility program in the year 2010. This plan will allow Renault-Nissan to supply its electric vehicles starting in the spring of 2011 that will be supported by an extensive network of 1300 recharging stations constructed across Portugal over the next 2 years.
This past June a prototype of the recharging stations was unveiled. The development of the station between a Portuguese co-operative in collaboration with Nissan has gone so well that the Portuguese Government has signed an agreement with 25 cities, key motorways and parking industry leaders aimed at the implementation of the stations. These agreements mark a crucial step. The plan will allow the construction of stations throughout Portugal, creating a recharging network that will secure full coverage for the entire country. This will transform Portugal into what some are calling Europe’s EV Eco-Valley.
The U.K. and Portuguese plants will be the exclusive supplier of the Advanced Lithium-Ion batteries for electric vehicles to be produced by the Renault-Nissan Alliance and will be here A LOT sooner than you might think. Renault-Nissan’s commitment to the production is so advanced that it says they will begin to offer the electric vehicles in the United States and Japan in 2010. The 2010 release is scheduled ahead of a mass marketing campaign that will provide the vehicle to consumers globally in 2012.
“The zero-emission mobility program is a priority for the company,’ said Eric Nicolas, Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance for Nissan Europe. “At Nissan, as we manage through this global crisis, we continue to prepare for the major evolutions that are occurring in our industry. We are not compromising our efforts to mass-market the electric car. And today, we have taken a key step to making zero-emissions a reality.”
More details on Nissan’s initiatives can be found here: