We have mentioned before that UK and Portugal are very active in Europe in alternative energy field and, particularly, in electric cars' market. Now Japanese auto makers are coming closer to their consumers in electric rim. This is the way forward in general economy and for auto makers: convert at least part part of bail out into manufacturing base for Green Mobility Revolution. China is as well very active in batteries' market and leading the way on basic materials side of the growth story in commodities supply:
"For China, it seems that “security of supply” has evolved into a synonym for “competitive advantage”. Chinese demand for metals has been a significant factor in maintaining high metal prices and now it appears that China’s appetite for metals could begin to have a more significant impact on the pricing of mining equities. From an investor’s perspective, the goal is to own what China needs and China needs metals"
By John Reed, Motor Industry Correspondent
Published: July 20 2009 11:00 Last updated: July 20 2009 14:03
Nissan is to make advanced lithium-ion batteries for electric cars at new factories in the UK and Portugal, the Japanese carmaker said on Monday.
The two countries’ governments have offered financial aid and other support for the investments, the company said, and the British plant will form part of a new low-carbon economic area in north-east England. The factories will have an annual capacity of 60,000 units each.
The UK facility, located in Sunderland near Nissan’s car plant, will be its main site for battery production in Europe. The UK government said the company would will invest more than £200m in the plant, which will create 350 direct jobs.
Nissan and its French alliance partner, Renault, plan to begin selling electric cars in the US and Japan from next year and globally from 2012.
Nissan said nothing about where it planned to produce electric vehicles in Europe. Prime minister Gordon Brown said that Sunderland “could now be a strong contender” and that government would “continue to work with Nissan to ensure this happens”.
Lord Mandelson, Britain’s business secretary, said the investment was “good news not just for the north-east, but for the whole of the UK”. Nissan’s car plant is Britain’s largest vehicle exporter, and employs 4,200 people.
Britain’s government has come under criticism in the past week for doing too little for carmakers, including its failure to disburse anything from a £2.3bn aid package for the industry announced in February.
Nissan said it was also talking to other governments in Europe about possible battery plant locations to meet its volume requirements.
Nissan and Renault are at the forefront of developing electric vehicles, one of several lower-emission technologies carmakers are exploring alongside hybrid cars and downsizing of conventional petrol and diesel engines.
However, questions remain over whether consumers will buy electric cars in large numbers, given the limited availability of charging infrastructure and their initial high price, which is partly due to the expensive batteries. Analysts say the costs of both batteries and cars will only come down as manufacturers build scale.
Britain’s government said it planned to set up a training centre specialising in low-carbon automotive technologies, a technology park, and a test track for low-carbon vehicles.
Last week the UK government unveiled a strategy for promoting investment in low-carbon technologies, and announced the establishment of Britain’s first low-carbon economic area, focused on wind power in Cornwall.
Nissan said that it had identified several possible sites for the Portuguese battery plant, which will involve an investment of €250m and create 200 jobs.
Last year, Portugal signed an agreement on zero-emission vehicles with Nissan and Renault that will see the carmakers supply electric cars from spring of 2011.
Portugal’s government wants to transform the country into “Europe’s electric vehicle Eco-Valley,” and is supporting a project to build 1,300 recharging stations over the next two years."