TOKYO, Jan 27 — Renault and Nissan will work more closely together to make electric cars, they said today, as they detailed a US$26 billion (RM109 billion) 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 (EV) 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 per cent now.

“The alliance remains a powerful partnership. We benefit from shared experience and expertise,” Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said in a presentation with other executives from the alliance.

Rocked by the 2018 ouster of alliance founder and chairman Carlos Ghosn amid a financial scandal, the companies have pledged to strengthen their ties by pooling more resources.

But they face competition from bigger carmakers with deeper pockets, such as Toyota Motor, which in December pledged to spend US$70 billion to electrify its fleet, as well as EV specialists such as Tesla Inc.

Now the world’s most valuable automaker, Tesla forecast yesterday its deliveries in 2022 would grow 50 per cent year on year.

“The alliance will hold its place among the world automotive leaders,” Alliance Operating Board Chairman, Jean-Dominique Senard, said during the online presentation.

Asked whether the EV spending plan was enough, given it is only around half what Germany’s Volkswagen AG plans to spend on the technology, Renault Chief Financial Officer Clotilde Delbos said it was “sufficient,” given the alliance’s past experience in making EVs.

To power the new EVs, the partners said they planned to secure 220 gigawatt (GWh) hours of production capacity by 2030.

The money promised today comes from funding announced last year.

In June, Renault unveiled a five-year €10 billion (RM46 billion) EV strategy with a plan to launch 10 models and to have EVs account for 90 per cent of all models by 2030.

Nissan said in November it would spend ¥2 trillion (RM73 billion) over five years to accelerate vehicle electrification, including on EVs and hybrid gasoline-electric cars.

Japan’s No. 3 carmaker 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 per cent within eight years and introduce potentially game-changing all solid-state batteries by March 2029.

Nissan said today it planned to replace its Micra car in Europe with a new EV using one of the common platforms.

Holding the three-way alliance together is a cross-shareholding relationship, with Renault owning 43.4 per cent of Nissan, which in turn has a 15 per cent 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. — Reuters