Nissan's Chinese partner, Dongfeng Motor Corporation, has displayed serious interest in entering the electric vehicle (EV) market. Last month, the company outlined its five-year, $443 million hybrid and EV development program. Immediately after that announcement, Dongfeng broke ground on an EV manufacturing facility that will boast an annual production capacity of 2,000 complete vehicles and at least 5,000 fully-assembled chassis. Though well short of providing enough capacity to meet the company's goals of 100,000 hybrids and at least 50,000 battery-powered vehicles by 2015, construction of the EV production facility signals Dongfeng's intent to focus on battery-powered vehicles.
Now, Dongfeng has turned to Nissan as it eyes battery technology for the company's upcoming EVs. Hideki Kimata, senior general manager of Dongfeng's joint venture unit, suggests that Nissan's battery technology may find its way into Dongfeng's own vehicles. The Chinese company plans to invest up to 3 billion yuan ($442 million U.S. at the current exchange rate) into new-energy vehicle projects and, as of right now, Nissan appears to lead Dongfeng's short list of potential battery suppliers to receive a significant chunk of that $442 million investment. Apparently, Dongfeng has not got wind of what Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk had to say about Nissan's primitive battery technology or, perhaps, the Chinese company has simply chosen to block out the babble from Tesla's wildly outspoken CEO.