TOKYO Japan's Nissan Motor Co and Sumitomo Corp said on Wednesday they had formed a joint venture aimed at commercializing used lithium-ion batteries for electric cars.
The company, called 4R Energy Corp and capitalized at 450 million yen ($5.42 million), will be held 51 percent by Nissan and 49 percent by trading house Sumitomo, they said in a statement.
Nissan and its French partner Renault SA are aiming to lead the market for battery-run electric vehicles with a global launch on a mass scale in 2012. The alliance's first mass-volume all-electric car, the Nissan Leaf, is due to hit the Japanese and U.S. markets this December.
Nissan, which develops and produces the lithium-ion batteries in a joint venture with NEC Corp, wants to lower the high cost of electric vehicles by eventually giving their expensive batteries a second life through re-use, resale, refabrication and recycling.
The five-seater Leaf is priced at 3.76 million yen ($45,300) in Japan and $32,780 in the United States before government subsidies.
(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Michael Watson)