Nissan may be getting out of the battery business

It could sell its share of AESC to a Chinese venture capital firm.

Despite the success of its Leaf electric vehicle, it looks like Nissan is close to getting out of the business of building batteries, as Bloomberg reports. Automotive Energy Supply Corporation ( AESC) began as a joint venture between Nissan and Japanese information technology company NEC, with Nissan owning a 51 percent stake. AESC provides the lithium-ion batteries for the Nissan Leaf and e-NV200, as well as some Renault vehicles. Now it appears that Nissan is preparing to sell its share of AESC to Chinese venture capital firm GSR Capital, with Bloomberg citing sources "with knowledge of the matter."

It's no big surprise, but it is a big deal, financially speaking, at around $988 million according to the Nikkei Asian Review. GSR could move some of AESC's manufacturing to its home province of Hubei, where it would be better positioned to take advantage of China's green-vehicle initiatives and growing EV market. Nissan is also in talks to sell its US and UK manufacturing facilities to GSR.

As for Nissan, it's possible it will still source some batteries from AESC, but it might be cheaper to buy them from someone else. Some signs point to LG Chem as a possible supplier for future electric vehicles, too. Nissan's partner Renault has been working with LG Chem for years now. Inside EVs points to Nissan working with LG on the IDS Concept and friendly words from Carlos Ghosn as other indicators.

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