Nissan Motor Co yesterday said that it is investing ￥2 trillion (US$17.6 billion) over the next five years and developing a cheaper, more powerful battery to boost its electric vehicle (EV) lineup.
Chief executive officer Makoto Uchida said 15 new electric vehicles would be available by fiscal 2030.
Nissan is aiming for a 50 percent “electrification” of the company’s model lineup, under what Uchida called the “Nissan Ambition 2030” long-term plan.
Electrified vehicles include hybrids and other kinds of environmentally friendly models other than just electric vehicles.
The effort is focused mainly on electric vehicles to cut emissions and meet various customers’ needs, Uchida said.
Nissan would also reduce carbon emissions at its factories, he added.
The company has been struggling to put the scandal of its former chairman Carlos Ghosn behind it. Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades, after he was sent to Japan by French alliance partner Renault SA, was arrested in Tokyo in 2018 on various financial misconduct charges.
Uchida made no mention of the scandal, but referred to “past mistakes” he promised would not be repeated at Nissan.
Nissan’s “electrification” rests on developing a new ASSB, or all solid-state battery, that it categorized as “a breakthrough” for being cheaper and generating more power than batteries now in use.
That means electric powertrains can be more easily used in trucks, vans and other heavier vehicles because the batteries can be smaller.
The ASSB would be in mass production by 2028, Nissan said.
The costs of electric vehicles would also fall thanks to the battery innovation to levels comparable with regular gasoline vehicles, Uchida said.
“Nissan has emerged from a crisis and is ready to make a new start,” he said.
All top automakers, including Nissan’s Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp, are working on electric vehicles, amid growing concern over climate change and sustainability. Global consumers are also demanding more safety features.
Uchida said Nissan was hiring 3,000 engineers to strengthen its research, including digital technology for vehicles.
Nissan, based in Yokohama, Japan, has suffered recently from a chip shortage that has slammed all automakers because of lockdowns and other measures at chip factories to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The maker of the Infiniti luxury models, Leaf electric vehicle and Z sports car is projecting a return to profitability for the fiscal year through March next year after racking up two straight years of losses.
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