Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., has begun construction of a lithium-ion battery plant in Cacia, Portugal, anticipating increased sales of electric vehicles from the Renault-Nissan Alliance in Europe.
The battery plant is being built on a 30,450-square meter piece of land belonging to a Renault transmission plant. An investment of €156 million will allow the plant to start operations in December 2012, with capacity of 50,000 lithium ion batteries annually. About 200 jobs will be created by the highly automated facility.
Both Nissan and Renault are betting heavily on the market acceptance of electric vehicles in mature markets, starting with the Leaf now in limited production. By 2012 the Alliance will offer four electric vehicles, and more new models are planned from 2014 to 2016.
Renault and Nissan plan to sell a cumulative 1.5 million EVs worldwide by 2016. Starting in 2015 the Alliance will have a production capacity of 500,000 EVs a year.
“The Cacia plant will be one of three facilities in Europe supplying batteries to electric vehicles produced by the Alliance, starting with the 100% electric Nissan LEAF. Together, the three plants will enable the Alliance to rollout electric vehicles in Europe on an unprecedented scale, bringing the world one step closer to a zero emission future,” said Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga, speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony.
The “zero emissions claim” is dependent on how the electricity is produced of course.
Nissan delivered nine Leaf EVs to the Portuguese electric mobility consortium MOBI.E and one to the Portuguese government in December ahead of the car’s official launch to individual customers.
Renault is in process of adjusting its industrial base and putting €5.7 billion ($7.9 b) investment into plants by 2013, largely in emerging markets.
Last April, Nissan began construction of a battery plant in Sunderland, United Kingdom, which will start operations in early 2012 with an annual capacity of 60,000 units. Renault’s battery plant in Flins, France will have a total production capacity of 100,000 units a year. And construction is progressing on a new manufacturing facility in Smyrna, Tennessee, which can produce 200,000 lithium-ion batteries annually.