Nissan Rumored to Sell Controlling Stake of EV Battery Company

This could be up to a $1 billion deal.

John Murphy/Nissan

Bloomberg reports that Nissan is in talks with Chinese private equity firm GSR Capital to sell their 51% controlling stake in Automotive Energy Supply Corp. for as much as $1 billion. AESC manufactures rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power the Nissan Leaf, the e-NV200, and some electric Renaults. The anonymous sources said an official announcement of the sale will be made within the next two weeks.

Why would Nissan want to sell a company that produces their batteries? They must have figured out that they can get batteries cheaper elsewhere. The Leaf was a bit of an experiment to see how their EV business was going to work and this potential sale is part of working out the kinks.

Also, Nissan could use the extra capital in developing new platforms and drivetrains for electric vehicles and autonomous driving tech. Nissan has shown a lot of interest and enthusiasm in self-driving cars with some of their new industry standard tech coming to the second-generation Leaf this year.

“This deal would bring huge benefits to both sides,” said market analyst Takeshi Miyao. “China is planning to manufacture batteries in the country as they encourage the use of electric vehicles and AESC would be a perfect target as it has good battery technology.”