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Nissan unveils USD 18bn electric vehicle strategy

Half the Japanese company's car sales will be of battery-electric or hybrid units by 2030. The figure was 10 percent last year.

Photo: Androniki Christodoulou/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

Nissan Motor Co. will invest JPY 2trn (EUR 15.65bn) over the next five years to electrify more of its lineup and turn battery-powered cars into a pillar of its long-term growth.

The Japanese automaker will introduce 23 new models by fiscal 2030, including 15 new electric vehicles, and aim for more than half of its sales to be electrified by then, the company said Monday.

Nissan, on track to return to annual profit for the first time in three years, is seeking to use know-how it amassed as an early entrant into the EV market as a foundation for growth. The Yokohama-based carmaker was an early leader, releasing the world’s first mass-produced EV in 2010. The Leaf is still one of the world’s top-selling EVs, though in recent years its annual sales have been outpaced by Tesla Inc.’s models.

“We have a 10-year head start over competitors with electrification,” Chief Executive Officer Makoto Uchida said, speaking in an online address Monday. “We will leverage this experience,” and “speed up the shift with further investment.”

Nissan has been ramping up its EV ambitions and announced a slew of investments, including plans to build a USD1.4bn hub to manufacture battery-powered cars in the UK. The automaker said on Monday that it plans to further increase its global battery production capacity to 130 gigawatt-hours by fiscal 2030, and launch an EV equipped with a solid-state battery by fiscal 2028.

A pilot plant for solid-state batteries will be be operational in Yokohama by around fiscal 2024, with aims to start mass production by around 2028. The next-generation batteries are key to achieving cost parity between EVs and gasoline cars, according to Nissan.

Nissan’s much-anticipated Ariya SUV and other electric models are set to join an increasingly saturated market. Over the next decade, global EV sales are projected to rise above 10 million a year from around 1 million today. That’s drawing competition.

The world’s second-biggest automaker, Volkswagen AG, is investing aggressively in a bid to unseat Tesla as the top EV maker, while others such as General Motors Co. and Honda Motor Co. have committed to selling only EVs in two decades.

By geography, Nissan plans to electrify more than 75 percent of sales in Europe, 55 percent of sales in Japan, and 40 percent of sales in China by fiscal 2026. It plans to have 40 percent of sales in the US electric in fiscal 2030. Its long-term strategy also includes JPY 20bn of spending on increasing charging spots for electric cars.

The new electrification strategy, called Nissan Ambition 2030, is a step beyond a midterm turnaround plan unveiled in 2020 as the company grappled with an aging lineup and incentive-fueled sales cutting into profitability.

“The time is right for us to shift gears from focusing on business transformation to creating the future,” Uchida said. “Nissan Next is on track and we have laid a strong foundation for progressive change.”

That four-year plan involved eliminating about 300 billion yen in annual fixed costs, cutting production capacity by around 20 percent and launching a dozen new vehicle models.

Cost cuts and better profit margins on car sales — both tenets of the so-called Nissan Next plan — have helped offset volume lost due to parts shortages. Nissan is forecasting an operating profit of JPY 180bn for the fiscal year through March.

Tesla short sellers retreat following meteoric surge 

Tesla recalls 11,704 cars  

Samsung SDI, Stellantis to produce electric car batteries 

 

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