Nissan, Sumitomo Form JV for EV Battery Recycling

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (NSANY.PK) and Sumitomo Corporation (SSUMF.PK) established a new joint venture for the reuse of used electric vehicles (EV) batteries.

The company, called 4R Energy, will work towards developing a second-life business for batteries that have reached the end of their useful life cycles in vehicles. Nissan will own a 51% stake in the company and Sumitomo will hold 49%.

4R Energy is expected to be operational by late 2010, in Japan and the United States. In Europe, Nissan will proceed to explore the battery recylcling options with its Alliance partner, Renault (RNO.NX).

The new company’s first order of business is to conduct demonstration tests and undertake a commercialization study. 

Advanced EV batteries are the most expensive single component of plug-in vehicles, and even when they no longer have the capacity to store and release the amount of power needed to drive a vehicle, they still can be used in less intensive applications. Furthermore, disposal of these large and toxic batteries presents an environmental and cost issue that can be sidestepped (atleast temporarily) through recycling.

Nissan has an existing joint-venture company with NEC Corporation (NIPNF.PK)–Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC)–to mass produce high-performance lithium-ion batteries.

"This direct management of the battery’s entire value chain is important to ensure that our EV customers do not bear the cost of the battery," said Hideaki Watanabe, head of Nissan’s Zero Emission Business Unit. "Nissan is exploring several options including battery lease or credit model based on a monthly payment scheme. With this proposition, the total running cost, which equals the monthly battery payment plus the cost to charge the battery, is comparable to the cost to refuel a similar gasoline-powered car."

Nissan will launch its all-electric vehicle, the LEAF, in December 2010 in Japan and the United States, followed by the global release in 2012.

Sumitomo Corporation is a company involved in multifaceted businesses such as trading, distributing variant products and services as well as investing in business globally. In April 2010, Sumitomo launched a new division, the New
Business Development & Promotion Division, which is responsible for
environmental businesses and is working on developing "new approaches to
realizing a low-carbon, recycling-based society."

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