Nissan Considers Bringing Electric Car Technology to China

Sept. 20, 2010
China is debating a 10-year plan that sets rules on how foreign auto makers transfer key technologies to China if they opt to produce and market electric cars and plug-in hybrids there.

Nissan Motor said on Sept. 20 that it is in talks with its Chinese partner Dongfeng Motor Group about sharing some of its cutting-edge electric car technology. The number three car maker in Japan was considering transferring its electric vehicle technology, such as lithium-ion battery know-how, to the companies' joint operations in China.

The companies are looking to jointly produce and sell Nissan Leaf electric battery cars in the country.

"There's no limit to technology we bring to China," Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn said in the central city of Zhengzhou, where the joint venture company Dongfeng Motor Co. has opened a new assembly plant.

"The future of the electric vehicle is bright in China," he said, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

His comments come as Beijing considers a 10-year plan that aims to set rules and regulations on how foreign auto makers transfer key technologies to China if they opt to produce and market electric cars and plug-in hybrids there.

The move has raised concerns among international auto executives.

A draft of the plan suggests Beijing could compel foreign automakers that want to produce electric vehicles in China to share critical know-how by requiring them to enter joint ventures with Chinese firms, some executives say.

It also limits foreign firms to minority stakes in those tie-ups.

Ghosn did not elaborate on the negotiations and did not say if the talks were related to the new government plan.

But a China-based senior Nissan executive, Kimiyasu Nakamura, said at a separate news briefing that Nissan was waiting for Beijing to finalize the 10-year policy. "Whatever final shape and form the policy might take, we wouldn't hold back (in sharing technology)," Nakamura said.

"We are going to figure out within that legal framework exact methodologies as to how we could transfer technology here."

Ghosn also said Dongfeng Motor Co. aimed to boost its market share in China to 10% from slightly more than 6% now, as it seeks to open more plants in the country.

Dongfeng Motor Co. sold 519,000 vehicles in China last year and is on track to reach its target of 600,000 vehicle sales this year, according to a previous report.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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