Nissan is preparing to sell its battery business, including a piece in the United States, to a company, based in China, specializing in production of sustainable energy, the automaker announced.
The deal covers Nissan assets in Japan, United Kingdom and U.S., including a battery factory in Smyrna, Tennessee that now employs 400.
Nissan Motor Co. said it has entered into a definitive agreement with Envision Group, a sustainable energy operator, for the sale of Nissan’s electric battery operations and production facilities to Envision. Nissan will retain a 25% stake in a new company set up when the deal with Envision Group closes.
The agreement was signed following the cancellation of an earlier transaction for sale to a third party.
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Envision has committed to complete the proposed acquisition of Nissan subsidiary Automotive Energy Supply Corp. and battery manufacturing operations in Smyrna, Tennessee, owned by Nissan North America Inc. and in Sunderland, England, owned by Nissan Motor Manufacturing Ltd.
Envision will also acquire Nissan’s Japanese battery development and production engineering operations located in Oppama, Atsugi and Zama.
“We are pleased to have secured a definitive agreement with Envision, a leading global company in the field of sustainable energy,” Yasuhiro Yamauchi, Nissan’s chief competitive officer, said.
“The transaction will enable Nissan to concentrate on developing and producing market-leading electric vehicles — in line with the goals set in our midterm plan Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022. We are confident that Envision will be a strong, long-term owner of the new company and that it will further grow as a battery company with increased competitiveness.”
Lei Zhang, founder and CEO of Envision, said his company was excited to announce the acquisition of Nissan’s battery business, which is a leading producer of advanced lithium-ion batteries.
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“With this strategic acquisition and collaboration, we aim to expand our activities via investment into the new company to realize the value of IoT technology for smart transportation, V2G, and smart city solutions,” he said.
The workforce at all facilities covered by the deal will continue to be employed. The headquarters and development centers of the business will remain in Japan.
Nissan will implement the transaction by first taking full control of AESC – founded in 2007 to develop advanced lithium-ion batteries – by acquiring the combined 49% minority holding held by NEC Corp. and its wholly owned electrode development and production subsidiary, NEC Energy Devices Ltd.
The Nissan Battery Plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, is the largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant in North America.
The new plant covers 475,000-square feet and makes battery components for the all-electric, zero-emission vehicles as part of Nissan’s effort to become the leader in EVs in North America.
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The plant is located adjacent to Nissan’s existing vehicle assembly plant in Smyrna where the Leaf is manufactured on the same line as Altima and Maxima.