The EV world was shocked by recent reports that Nissan is thinking about cutting production of its proprietary battery packs in favor of sourcing packs from South Korea’s LG Chem. Speculation ran riot in the media, but facts were few.
This week, the picture became clearer, as Green Car Reports asked Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn about the company’s commitment to keeping battery production in-house.
“It’s a problematic question of the industry,” said Ghosn, and drew an analogy between batteries and tires, which once upon a time automakers manufactured themselves, because of the lack of an economically viable alternative.
“The reason we got involved with batteries, at the beginning, is we couldn’t find batteries good enough for our cars, so we decided to assemble our own batteries,” Ghosn explained. “And we will continue to do that as long as we don’t think there are enough good batteries on the market, or we don’t think there is competition to sustain the move on batteries.”
“The day these two conditions are filled, then we may question, ‘You know, why do we need to develop our own batteries?’ But today it’s not the case.”
So, Nissan will continue making batteries. However, outside suppliers may also be part of the picture – Ghosn noted that LG Chem supplies batteries for partner Renault’s EVs. “Today we are still seeing a lot of battery makers,” said Ghosn, adding that some of them are very competitive. “We’ll continue to scrutinize the market. As long as we don’t see many competitors in the battery business allowing us to be able to access the technology we want for our cars and allowing us to make competition work between the different suppliers, we’re going to continue to make our own batteries.”