Nissan will build a third battery plant

The company Nissan Motor Co began construction of a plant for the production of advanced lithium-ion batteries in Cassia (Portugal) “To spread the extension of electric cars Renault-Nissan Alliance in Europe.”
As it became known earlier, the battery plant will be located in an area of 30 thousand and 450 square meters, at the factory Renault in Cassia, which collected the gearbox. The investment amounted to € 156 million. The company will begin work in December 2012 and will produce 50 thousand units per year. It is expected that the new plant will create 200 jobs.

“The plant in Cassia is one of three factories in Europe, supplying batteries for electric vehicles produced by the alliance, the first of which is 100% electric car Nissan Leaf, – are reported to senior operating officer Toshiyuki Shiga Nissan. The three plants together will allow the alliance to distribute electric vehicles in Europe in an unprecedented extent, one step closer to a future world without emission of exhaust gases. “

In turn, the executive vice president of Renault, Corporate Planning, Scheduling and Control of Production Philip Klein said that “the beginning of construction of the battery factory in Cassia is another major step in the revolutionary transition to electric vehicles,on the edge where located the Alliance. “The plant will supply the batteries for one of four electric ZE family Renault, Fluence ZE, which goes on sale in autumn 2011, “- he added.

Recall that in April of the last year, Nissan began building battery plant in Sunderland (UK), which will start work at the beginning ща еру 2012 and will produce 60 thousand units per year. Another battery plant Renault, located in Flinse (France), will produce 100 thousand batteries per year. 

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Electric cars are becoming more popular

Almost every day we learn of the progress in the development of practical electric cars. Progress does not mean much, however, if nobody is buying things. With this in mind, ZPryme Research & Consulting recently conducted an online survey of 1,046 men and women in the U.S., asking how he felt about various aspects of the purchase of an EV (electric vehicle).
First, only 8.5 percent of respondents said they were very willing to buy an electric vehicle in the next two years, while 28.7 percent are considered unlikely. Of the remaining respondents somewhat or very unlikely, 25.8 percent said they were somewhat likely to buy an electric vehicle in the next five years.

Why one?

The main reason for buying an electric vehicle would be the price of the vehicle, according to 66. 8 percent of respondents, with a fuel that comes in the number two reasons, at 50.4 percent. Although not cited as a reason for buying an electric vehicle 64. 1 percent of respondents were very or somewhat likely to purchase within the next two years, said that environmental concerns are very important to them. Of those who were very or somewhat unlikely to buy, only 32.4 percent were very concerned about the environment.

Of all respondents, 31.1 percent said they would be willing to pay more for an EV to a conventional vehicle, with 12.6 percent said they would be willing to pay up to $ 5,000 more, and 5.2 percent saying it would pay $ 10,000 more.

Range and charging time

In the very likely that something within the group of two to five years, 33.7 percent said that 400 miles (644 km) would be a sufficient range, 33. 3 percent were willing to settle for 300 miles (483 km). When it was acceptable load times, 32.1 percent indicated that four hours, 18.1 percent indicated that 6 hours, and 20.0 percent is expected for the 8. If it were possible to pay a premium to load the fastest car, 87. 4 percent said they would opt for it. The ability to charge an EV at home is also big business, with 93.2 percent described it as very important.

What was to buy

In terms of brands and models … so, people will not buy a car if you are unaware of its existence. When asked that electric vehicles that he had heard, those interviewed include the Chevrolet Volt (53.1 percent), Ford Focus EV (49.1 percent), Nissan Leaf (30.8 percent) and Tesla Roadster (16.8 percent) – brands such as BYD and ZAP Sat somewhere under 5 percent. When he reached the automaker to which respondents would like to buy an electric vehicle for five brands are: Ford (17.8 percent), Toyota (16.7 percent), Chevrolet (16.0 percent), Honda (12.6 percent) and Nissan (7.1 percent).

Regional Differences

While there were no major differences in how receptive people in different geographic quadrants were to electric vehicles, the Western states were the most welcoming, with 40. 1 percent of the respondents were categorized as likely to buy an electric vehicle. The south and the northeastern U.S. came in next at 37.3 and 37 percent, respectively, with the center-west of the entrance to the lowest in 35.3 percent.

What to do

At the end of its 71-page report on the results of the survey, ZPryme makes some predictions about what will happen to electric vehicles to be widely accepted. On the one hand, it is suggested, the vehicles must be integrated with the Internet, wireless networks, telematics, smart phones and users. The “likely” group is apparently a techie group, and would be more interested in vehicles that take full advantage of current technologies.

A smart grid that manages municipal energy systems will also be essential in order to avoid becoming burnt and black-outs due to the overloading of all charging battery. Similarly, the pricing of infrastructure will be put in place, allowing users a lot of opportunities for recharging in the field, but also at home. That the burden should also be required less frequently, with the development of low-cost batteries that can go from 250 to 350 miles (402 to 563 km) on a single charge. The low-cost batteries should help reduce the total price of an electric vehicle to a conventional vehicle, which is another challenge that the reports must be met.

Finally, and not surprisingly, Zpryme suggests that “consumer education is at the heart of the EV adoption.” Whatever progress is made in the EV connectivity, coverage, convenience and price, consumers will not buy electric cars if they are holding in their old misconceptions.

Toyota, Daimler, BMW adopt Tesla’s laptop battery strategy for EVs.

LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) — Toyota Motor Corp., Daimler AG and BMW AG are turning to laptops for a cheaper way to power their electric cars — and their sales.

Automakers are testing packs of lithium-ion batteries assembled by Silicon Valley startup Tesla Motors Inc. costing less than bigger, car-only batteries favored by General Motors Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

A pack of 6,831 cylinder-shaped cells made by Panasonic Corp. powers Tesla’s $109,000 Roadster sports car for up to 245 miles (nearly 295km) per charge.

The car industry will help lithium-ion battery makers more than triple sales to 5 trillion yen ($60 billion) in a decade from 1.5 trillion yen in the year ending in March, according to Sanyo Electric Co., the world’s biggest maker of the batteries.

Rechargeable consumer-electronics batteries benefit from an economy of scale that may help cut manufacturing costs and sticker prices in the nascent electric-car industry, said Koji Endo, a Tokyo-based analyst at Advanced Research Japan.

“It may lead to the total component cost of an electric car getting lower than that of a gasoline car,” Endo said. “As the cost lowers, there’ll be more likelihood that retail prices of electric cars will drop.”

Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf

EV prices are higher than three-quarters of the autos now sold, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, with GM’s Chevrolet Volt selling for $41,000 and Nissan’s Leaf for $32,780.

Electric vehicles cost about twice as much to produce as gasoline-engine cars because the batteries are so expensive, according to consultant Frost & Sullivan Inc.

Sales of EVs and hybrids, including plug-in models, will reach about 954,000 worldwide this year, or about 2.2 percent of all car sales, J.D. Power and Associates, an industry forecaster in California, estimated in October.

Government subsidies may help boost sales of plug-in hybrids and EVs to 9 percent of auto sales in 2020, Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated last month.

Panasonic, the majority shareholder in Sanyo, is the main supplier of lithium-ion cells to Tesla and last month bought a $30 million stake in the Palo Alto, Calif., company. Toyota and Daimler also own Tesla stakes.

Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen

Panasonic boosted its annual production capacity for the small batteries by 9 percent to 1.4 billion units after opening a plant in Osaka, Japan. The company wants to increase sales of energy-related products because of tougher competition in its television-making business.

Packs assembled by Tesla power Daimler’s electric Smarts and Mercedes-Benz A-class cars, and Toyota will use Tesla’s small-cell packs in an electric RAV4 in 2012.

BMW leased 450 Minis powered by laptop cells, and Volkswagen AG studied the technology at its California facility.

The larger lithium batteries cost about $700-$800 per kilowatt hour to produce, while mass-produced packs using small laptop cells may cost $200, said Martin Eberhard, Tesla’s founder and former chief executive officer.

“It’s a much more effective approach,” he said. “There’s a huge advantage in terms of economy of scale.”

‘Full-line maker’

Factories making small cells are running at high capacity, Eberhard said. That also benefits EV makers who don’t have the resources to develop their own batteries, said Menahem Anderman, president of Advanced Automotive Batteries, a consulting firm in Oregon House, California.

GM partners with South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. for the Volt pack, and Nissan partners with NEC Corp., Japan’s biggest personal-computer maker, for the Leaf.

Toyota is working with Tesla on the electric RAV4, while its plug-in Prius hybrid and a small, electric car planned for 2012 employ larger batteries.

“When the customer decides ‘This is the car I want,’ we want to be that full-line maker who has the answer for that customer,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda said. “By using both car batteries and laptop batteries, we are able to provide customers with a wider variety of choice.”

The alliances with Toyota and Daimler helped Tesla generate an initial public offering in June that raised about $226 million.

Battery recalls

Tesla’s shares have surged more than 80 percent this year, compared with an 11 percent increase in the Russell 1000 Index, even though the company has delivered fewer than 1,500 Roadsters since 2008.

Shares of Toyota have fallen 15 percent this year, more than a 3 percent decline by Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

A123 Systems Inc., a Massachusetts-based lithium-ion battery maker part-owned by General Electric Co., also is promoting small, cylindrical cells originally designed for power tools.

Lithium-ion batteries in consumer electronics have a history of recalls because of overheating that can cause a fire. Nokia Oyj, the world’s largest mobile-phone maker, offered in 2007 to replace as many as 46 million Panasonic phone batteries.

Panasonic now uses an insulator film between electrodes to limit the risk of overheating, said Yuji Tsuzaki, a spokesman for the battery unit.

‘Bat out of hell’

Sony Corp. recalled 9.6 million lithium-ion cells in 2006 because metal particles that got into cells during manufacturing could cause short circuits and overheating.

That remains an issue for Takenobu Inaba, 27, who was shopping at a Nissan showroom in Yokohama, Japan. He said he would choose a gasoline-powered car over an electric one.

“When I heard Tesla’s car has a huge battery pack consisting of those used in consumer electronics, my image of the car was ruined,” Inaba said. “I’m still concerned that those lithium-ion batteries may explode.”

Roadster owner Scott Painter said he isn’t concerned about what’s under the hood and hasn’t noticed any degradation in the battery since his 2008 purchase.

“I’ve never been found wanting on the batteries,” said Painter, CEO of Truecar Inc., an automotive- sales data-marketing company in California. “I step on the pedal and it goes like a bat out of hell.”