Nissan has completed the previously announced sale of its Automotive Energy Supply Corp (AESC) electric battery operations and production facilities to Envision Group, a Chinese renewable energy concern. The transaction was completed last week, with the new company starting operations on April 1.

The move sees AESC – which supplies lithium-ion batteries for the Nissan Leaf – now operating as Envision AESC Japan, the Nikkei reports. Envision AESC will also take control of Nissan’s battery assets in Smyrna, Tennessee and in Sunderland, England, as well as NEC Energy Devices, an NEC unit that produces battery electrodes.

Originally, AESC was supposed to have been sold to GSR Capital (GSR), a Chinese private investment fund, in a deal that was first announced in 2017, but the purchase fell through following a series of delays. Nissan finally called off the deal in August last year following GSR’s failure to make payment by the June 2018 target date, and Envision stepped into the picture.

The new entity is expected to command 6% of the global lithium-ion battery business for autos, putting it fifth worldwide, behind the 10% held by South Korea’s LG Chem. The new company aims to lift the market share to 20%, second only to Panasonic, aided by the production of next-generation batteries from next year.

The report adds that Envision is building a 20 gigawatt-hour plant in China, which is due to begin operations at the end of 2020, and a local research and development hub is also in the pipeline, the latter being responsible for customising battery specifications for Chinese clients.

Envision is also looking to expand its horizons beyond providing batteries just to Nissan – it currently supplies 90% of its output to Nissan, but it is aiming to widen its customer base to include Chinese and other automakers.

GALLERY: Nissan Leaf at KLIMS18