New venture capital fund Alliance Ventures will aim to support and develop technologies for vehicle electrification, autonomous driving, connectivity and artificial intelligence.
Automotive alliance Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi has this week announced the launch of a new venture capital fund, Alliance Ventures, that it claims will invest up to $1 billion into new technologies over the next five years.
In its first year, the fund expects to invest up to $200 million in start-ups and open innovation partnerships with technology entrepreneurs focused on what it calls ‘new mobility’. This includes technologies such as vehicle electrification, autonomous driving, connectivity and artificial intelligence.
The alliance claims its new fund is unique because it offers potential partners access to a big market. Between them, the three partners sold more than 10 million vehicles last year through 10 separate brands and will jointly fund Alliance Ventures, with Renault and Nissan each contributing a 40% share of the fund and Mitsubishi Motors making up the remaining 20%.
Alliance Ventures will be led by Francois Dossa, previously CEO of Nissan’s Brazilian operations and a former investment banker with Société Générale.
First investment announced
Battery specialist Ionic Materials, based in Woburn, Massachusetts, is set to become the first recipient of funding from Alliance Ventures, for its work in developing solid-state cobalt-free battery materials. The equity acquisition by the fund coincides with a joint-development agreement between Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and Ionic.
Ionic is developing a solid-state electrolyte for creating higher performance more affordable batteries for electric vehicles, consumer electronics and utility grid storage.
Alliance Ventures will run alongside Alliance 2022, a five year strategic plan launched last year, which aims to strengthen cooperation between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi. By the end of the plan, the Alliance hopes to have launched 12 pure electric vehicles built on common EV platforms and components, as well as bringing to market 40 vehicles with autonomous driving features. On top of that, it plans to develop robo-vehicle ride-hailing services.
“This investment initiative is designed to attract the world’s most promising automotive technology start-ups to the Alliance,” said Carlos Ghosn, chairman and chief executive of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.