TOKYO – Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi announced on Wednesday the creation of a venture capital fund to invest over $1 billion in new technologies over the next five years.
The new fund, Alliance Ventures, will prioritize investment in start-ups and innovation in new mobility including “electrification, autonomous systems, connectivity and artificial intelligence,” the companies said in a statement.
In this year alone, the fund expects to invest $200 million in such projects, and is “set to become the largest corporate venture capital fund in the automotive industry” by 2022, when the alliance is due to wrap up.
The fund’s first deal will be a strategic investment in the United States’ company developing solid-state cobalt-free battery materials, Ionic Materials, according to the statement.
Alliance Ventures will be led by François Dossa, who was the chief executive officer of Nissan Brazil, and is expected to be based in Silicon Valley, Paris, Yokohama and Beijing.
Chairman and chief executive officer of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Carlos Ghosn said in the statement that “this investment initiative is designed to attract the world’s most promising automotive-technology start-ups to the Alliance,” who “will benefit from the global scale of the Alliance,” which sold more than 10 million vehicles in 2017.
The partners are planning to launch 12 pure electric models by the end of the five-year period and hope to market 40 models with autonomous drive technology and another type of smart cars, the note added.