Paris - Renault and Nissan will work more closely together to make electric cars, they said on Thursday, as they detailed a $26 billion (R397bn) investment plan over the next five years to stay competitive in the switch to cleaner driving.
The two-decade old alliance, which also includes Mitsubishi Motors, said it would increase the number of common platforms for electric vehicles to five from four.
They will build a combined EV line-up of 35 vehicles by 2030, the companies said, adding that by 2026 four fifths of their models would share common platforms, up from 60% now.
"The alliance will hold its place among the world automotive leaders," Alliance Operating Board Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said during an online presentation.
Asked whether the EV spending plan was enough, given it is only around half of what Volkswagen plans to invest in the technology, Renault CFO Clotilde Delbos said it was "sufficient," given the alliance's past experience in making EVs.
"We are not a second division player when we come together," Renault CEO Luca de Meo said during the presentation.
To power the new EVs, the partners said they planned to secure 220 gigawatt (GWh) hours of battery production capacity by 2030, providing greater scale that would allow them to halve battery costs by 2026 and reduce them by 65% by 2028. They did not give details on how the capacity would be secured.
Nissan Micra to get electric successor
Nissan said on Thursday that it planned to replace its Micra compact hatchback in Europe with a new EV using one of the common platforms. Built in France, it would become Nissan’s new entry level vehicle.
Nissan plans to launch 23 electrified vehicles by 2030, including 15 pure EVs. It has also said it wants to reduce lithium-ion battery costs by 65% within eight years and introduce potentially game-changing all solid-state batteries by March 2029.
Holding the three-way alliance together is across-shareholding relationship, with Renault owning 43.4% of Nissan, which in turn has a 15% non-voting stake in the French car company and a third of Mitsubishi Motors' stock.
Senard declined to comment when asked whether the partners might rebalance the relationship by changing those holdings.
A new structure has been expected by financial markets. Renault has been in the dominant position since it bailed out Nissan two decades ago, but is now smaller by sales than its Japanese partner.
"Life is long and we should never be impatient on that kind of subject," said Senard