Car makers launch $1bn investment drive in e-mobility innovation

Leading auto manufacturers, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi are to invest as much as $1bn to fund electromobility startups over the next five years.

Bloomberg reports that the trio are keen to accelerate their adaptation to the new paradigm. In a statement the partners said they will invest as much as $200m during the venture capital fund’s first year.
Alliance Ventures logo
The fund, called Alliance Ventures, will finance new developments in electrification, autonomy, connectivity and artificial intelligence. It is set to be largest corporate venture capital fund in the auto industry over the period until 2022, the companies said.

New developments affecting the sector include the use of self-drive and electric vehicles and car-sharing platforms, and the move will be seen as at attempt to better control future outcomes by the industry.

“The way we’re organized now is not sufficient,” Carlos Ghosn, alliance chairman, said in a Bloomberg Television interview at CES in Las Vegas, citing a need for the creativity of start-ups and outside partners. “I don’t think we can do it alone.”

Its first strategic investment will fund Ionic Materials, a US company, developing cobalt-free solid-state battery materials that can be used in electric vehicles.

The alliance announced in September plans to introduce 12 new EVs by 2022 while extending range and slashing battery costs.

The fund’s formation follows similar moves by competitors, including General Motors’ GM Ventures, BMW’s i Ventures and Toyota’s Toyota AI Ventures.

Renault and Nissan will each fund 40 percent of Alliance Ventures — which will be co-located in Silicon Valley, Paris, Beijing and Yokohama, Japan — while Mitsubishi will contribute the remaining.

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