With a goal to place electrification at the core of its business strategy, Nissan has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire shares in Vehicle Energy Japan Inc. (VE-J), a company engaged in the automotive lithium-ion batteries business.
VE-J is quite a comprehensive company, which develops, manufactures, and sells lithium-ion batteries, battery modules, and battery management systems. However, its focus is on hybrids.
Considering that Vehicle Energy Japan already supplies batteries for the Nissan Kicks e-Power and Nissan Note e-Power models (series, non-rechargeable hybrids), it might suggest that Nissan will continue to expand this branch of electrification (hopefully, not at the expense of BEVs).
According to the press release, Nissan will acquire a stake in VE-J from INCJ (the amount has not been disclosed) and participate in the upcoming capital increase round, ultimately turning the company into its subsidiary. The other existing shareholders – Maxell Ltd. (formerly, Maxell Holdings, Ltd.,) and Hitachi Astemo, Ltd. (formerly, Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd.) will remain on board.
“Nissan will acquire all the common shares of Vehicle Energy Japan held by INCJ, Ltd. and subscribe to common shares issued by Vehicle Energy Japan. Following the transaction, Vehicle Energy Japan will become a consolidated subsidiary of Nissan, in which it will hold shares alongside existing shareholders Maxell, Ltd. and Hitachi Astemo, Ltd.”
Nissan explains that the investment will secure a stable battery supply (for Nissan and other customers) as well as contribute to the development of next-generation batteries.
If we check Vehicle Energy Japan’s website, it turns out that the company offers high-power lithium-ion cells, which can deliver up to 6.3-7 kW of power per kg. Unfortunately, the high-power cells for hybrids usually do not shine in the energy density category. In this case, it’s just around 100 Wh/kg (114 Wh/kg for the 8 Ah cells).
On the pack level, it’s even less. A 9.5 kg battery with 38 cells stores some 0.7 kWh (over 73 Wh/kg), but for a short period can deliver 24 kW of power.