Renault, Mitsubishi plan to spend $23 billion on EV development: sources

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Renault, Mitsubishi plan to spend $23 billion on EV development: sources

REUTERS Kim Kyung-Hoon File Photo

Jan 23, Reuters -- Renault SA RENA.PA Nissan Motor Co and Mitsubishi Motors Corp 7211. Two people with knowledge of the plan told Reuters that T plan to triple their investment to develop electric vehicles EVs.

The French-Japanese alliance is trying to deepen cooperation as established automakers face pressure from new competitors and an expected shift in demand toward EVs.

The sources said that the three are expected to announce a plan to invest more than 20 billion euros $23 billion over the next five years on EV development. They said that the alliance has to come up with more than 30 new battery EVs underpinned by five common platforms by the year 2030.

The group has already spent 10 billion euros on electrification, according to the two people with knowledge of the plan.

Spokespeople for Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi didn't respond immediately to requests for comment on Sunday.

One source said that the Alliance to 2030 plan aims to show increased cooperation among automakers, highlighting a shared vision on mobility and electrification. The five common platforms are expected to cover 90% of the EVs the companies are expected to develop and launch by the year 2030, according to the sources.

Four common EV platforms have been developed by the three-firm alliance.

One supports EVs such as Nissan's upcoming Ariya and Renault's Megane EV, and another supports affordable no-frills cars by Nissan and its China market partner Dongfeng, as well as Renault's Dacia brand. The two other platforms are for micro minis, called kei cars in Japan and light commercial vehicles.

The sources said that the alliance aims to deploy a fifth common platform for compact EVs designed by Renault by the end of the decade.

Nissan has already decided to use this platform, called CMFB-EV, and other standard components to electrify the Nissan Micra compact car, whereas Renault is expected to come up with a similar EV car based on the same platform, according to the sources. The Micra EV is projected to be released by the mid- 2020s.

The sources said that the automakers hope to make compact EVs as affordable as gasoline-fuelled vehicles of similar size.

The automakers are expected to use common batteries and other key components. The alliance plans to create a total of 220 gigawatt hours of battery capacity in France, Britain, China and Japan by 2030, according to the sources.

They said that the alliance expects to halve battery manufacturing costs by standardising and sharing batteries.

The alliance is expected to share solid-state lithium-ion battery technology, which Nissan has been developing, they said.

The plan was for the leaders of Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi to announce the 2030 plan at an event in Japan last autumn, but the announcement was postponed because of a surge in COVID 19 in Japan, according to the sources.

A disagreement between Nissan and Renault over the French firm's proposals for a full-blown merger tension that burst into the open in 2018 with the arrest of former alliance leader Carlos Ghosn has resulted in stalled efforts to collaborate on technology and vehicle development, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

The three automakers have their own hybrid technologies with few shared key parts and systems. One source said that the limited cooperation in sourcing and development has raised concerns within the group about the ability to achieve cost savings.

It was not immediately clear if alliance leaders will discuss hybrids as part of their 2030 plan.

Nissan plans to launch 23 electrified vehicles, including gasoline-electric hybrids, by 2030, including 15 EVs, over the course of five years. The company said that half of Nissan's vehicle mix will be electrified by 2030, including EVs and e-Power hybrids.

Renault said its brand will be 100% electric in Europe by 2030, but company officials told Reuters the target doesn't apply to markets outside Europe and the group's other brands, such as Dacia.