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Daimler, Renault-Nissan sparring over EV batteries

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Daimler, Renault-Nissan sparring over EV batteries

04/15/2010, 9:17 AMBY ANDREW GANZ

Daimler and Renault-Nissan may have just signed an agreement to become business partners in an effort to coordinate small displacement gasoline engines, but now the two companies have both individually said that they want to become the global leader in electric car batteries.

“Daimler has been a company that has traditionally been reluctant to give up its own technology path,” said Anil Valsan, London-based director of automotive research at industry analysts Frost & Sullivan in an interview with Bloomberg.

Both companies have set up joint ventures with separate third parties to develop and produce batteries. Daimler has been working with Evonik to create lithium-ion battery packs for an electric Smart set to debut in the next two years, and it recently inked an agreement with China’s BYD to serve the world’s largest car market.

Renault-Nissan, meanwhile, will build batteries for the Nissan Leaf (pictured) through an alliance with NEC. Renault-Nissan and NEC have plans to build five battery plants in Europe, Japan and the United States.

For two companies that have come to an agreement on sharing technologies, the signs of future strife over emerging battery and EV technology are obvious.

“They may reach a point where it’s clear that one technology will be better than the other,” analyst Mike Tyndall said. “It’s all a question of how willing they are to work together.”



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