Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., NEC Corporation, and its subsidiary NEC TOKIN Corporation, today announced that its joint-venture company Ė Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC) Ė has begun operations. AESCís start of operation follows the announcement of the joint-venture in April 2007.

AESC will focus on the development and mass production of advanced lithium-ion batteries for a wide range of automotive applications from hybrids, electric vehicles to fuel-cell vehicles. NEC and NEC TOKIN bring their expertise in cell-technology and electrode production, while Nissan will contribute from its long experience in real-world vehicle application.

With an initial start-up capital of 1.5 billion yen (US $14.3 million*1), the equity stakeholding among Nissan, NEC Corporation and NEC TOKIN Corporation stands at 51%:42% and7% respectively.

AESC will invest 12.0 billion yen (US $114.6 million) over a three-year period in a manufacturing facility to be located at Nissanís Zama facility in Kanagawa Prefecture and operational by 2009. Production capacity will be at 65,000 units with initial start-up capacity to begin at 13,000 units a year. Under the Invest Kanagawa scheme, AESC has submitted its application for a total investment of 13.4 billion yen*2 (US $128.0 million) and expects to be granted an incentive package.

To support AESCís production demand, NEC TOKIN will invest 11.0 billion yen (US $105.1 million) over the next three years at its NEC Sagamihara Plant in Kanagawa Prefecture, to mass produce lithium-manganese electrodes by 2009.

AESC will market its battery products to potential customers in the automotive industry worldwide. It aims to become a leader in battery technology by producing batteries that offer superior performance, reliability, safety, versatility and cost competitiveness.

The high-performance lithium-ion batteries employ a compact laminated configuration which delivers twice the electric power compared to conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries with a cylindrical configuration. Based on on-going vehicle field tests, AESCís batteries have been validated to be safe, demonstrating high-performance qualities, on average runs of more than 100,000 km.

"Nissan firmly believes the ultimate solution for sustainable mobility lies in zero emission vehicles. Electric vehicles represent one clear strategic direction embedded in Nissan GT 2012, our new mid-term business plan," said Carlos Tavares, executive vice president of Nissan.

ĎĎNECís expertise in developing safe and low-cost lithium-manganeseaid Konosuke Kashima, Executive Vice President of NEC. batteries combined with NEC TOKINís strength in electrode-material technology and production will contribute significantly to AESCís competitiveness. By promoting AESCís batteries for wide-scale vehicle application, NEC is doing our part for the global environment by contributing to help reduce CO2 emissions,íí s

The first commercial application for AESCís li-ion batteries is destined for forklifts for small business operators in 2009. This will be followed by Nissanís electric vehicle, to be introduced in the U.S. and Japan, as well as Nissanís original hybrid vehicle in 2010. By 2012, Nissan has announced its plans to mass-market electric vehicles to consumers globally, which will boost demand for batteries significantly.

AESC has also been appointed as a supplier of li-ion batteries to Project Better Place. The $200 million-backed Palo Alto, Calif., venture aims to reduce global dependency on oil through the creation of a market-based transportation infrastructure that supports electric vehicles, providing consumers with a cleaner, sustainable, personal transportation alternative. Project Better Place and the Renault-Nissan Alliance are planning for the first wide-scale deployment of zero emission vehicles in Israel and Denmark in 2011.