Nissan-linked venture to build EV battery plant

NHK has learned that a joint venture company is planning to build a huge plant in eastern Japan to produce lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles.

Sources say that Envision AESC Japan, which is funded by Nissan Motor and a Chinese energy-related company, is making final arrangements to build the facility in Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo.

Its planned annual production capacity is six gigawatt-hours. This would make it one of the largest EV battery plants in Japan.

Envision AESC Japan is currently making batteries for Nissan's flagship electric vehicle, Leaf, at its plant in Zama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo.

It plans to begin operating the new plant in around three years, and supply batteries to auto firms in and outside Japan.

As part of the growing trend for going carbon-free, auto manufacturers are stepping up their efforts to develop electric and hybrid vehicles and hammering out higher targets.

This month, Ford Motor announced it will establish a joint venture with a South Korean manufacturer to produce batteries.