With electrification, Nissan’s Gupta sees new spark for Renault tie-up

YOKOHAMA — Nissan Motor Co. will standardize and share EV components with alliance partner Renault, the Japanese automaker’s COO Ashwani Gupta said, describing electrification as the partnership’s new linchpin.

The Franco-Japanese alliance, which also includes junior member Mitsubishi Motors, was strained in the aftermath of the arrest and ouster of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn. Since then, the coronavirus pandemic has provided an impetus to rebuild the collaboration, and the companies have looked to standardize parts and platforms to cut costs.

Nissan has already been sharing common platforms, powertrains and components with Renault and Mitsubishi, but those efforts have “reached the maximum we should do,” Gupta said. “That’s why we are shifting the gear of further synergies using electrification as the main pillar,” he said.

The focus will be on sharing batteries, electric powertrains and electronic architecture, he said, adding that adopting a uniform standard across the alliance would “contribute significantly” to economies of scale.

Gupta said electrification would not pose a supply challenge because of Nissan’s global sourcing of components. He said it had battery sourcing in China, Japan, Europe and the United States.

Together the alliance sold more than 7.8 million cars last year, down about 23 percent from 2019 as the companies were hit by the pandemic.

The push to share more of the work on EVs illustrates the scope of the challenge facing automakers everywhere, as the industry is being transformed by fast-moving technology.

Ford Motor Co. has a strategic alliance with Volkswagen Group, under which Ford will use its German partner’s MEB electric vehicle platform to build some models.

Toyota Motor Corp. has expanded ties with companies including Subaru Corp. and Chinese battery and automaker BYD to jointly develop EVs, while Honda and General Motors will introduce two jointly developed large-sized EV models using GM’s Ultium batteries in 2024.

Battery hurdles

Nissan, one of the world’s first car makers to embrace fully EVs with its Leaf model, will share the platform of its upcoming full-electric Ariya crossover with Renault.

Batteries are one of the costliest components of EVs, with raw materials accounting for the largest part of the cost. Yet battery development has been one of the weaker points of the more than 20-year alliance, with both Nissan and Renault sourcing batteries separately.

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