For this month’s SEMMA member profile, Manufacturers’ Monthly learnt more about the Nissan Node project and the relationship between the Nissan Casting Australia Plant and SEMMA.
Nissan Australia is set to launch an innovative, industry-first Circular Economy project in Victoria, with the Nissan Casting Australia Plant (NCAP) to use recycled Nissan LEAF batteries to power part of its production facility.
In an exciting window into the future for end-of-life electric vehicle batteries — and an important step towards Nissan Australia’s goal of carbon neutrality — the NCAP battery project, called Nissan Node, will see a new solar array installed at Nissan Casting Australia, as well as new EV chargers.
In its most simplified form, the Nissan Node will include the installation of a new battery energy storage system made of nine repurposed Gen 1 Nissan LEAF batteries at the Nissan Casting Australia Plant, which will be charged via the solar array.
The project is estimated to reduce Nissan Casting Australia’s annual C02 emissions by 259 tonnes, while saving 128 megawatts of energy every year.
NCAP Managing Director, Peter Jones, spoke about the importance of this project.
“This isn’t just a hugely exciting project, but an important step into the future for end-of-life EV batteries,” he said.
The Node Project is being completed in partnership with innovative Melbourne-based company, Relectrify.
Relectrify is the developer of ground-breaking battery management and inverter technology that dramatically extends the life of batteries, reduces battery system costs, and enables the repurposing of high-quality second-life batteries from electric vehicles.
Relectrify’s ReVolve battery energy storage system being installed at the NCAP is a first-of-its kind product built from end-of-life LEAF batteries, as CEO Val Muenzel explained.
“We are delighted to be working with Nissan on this initiative, which positions Australian innovation at the forefront of the global transition towards both carbon neutrality and the circular economy,” he said.
Nissan Casting Australia Plant
Nissan’s NCAP operation has been a mainstay of the industry since its establishment in 1982.
Today, in excess of 50 per cent of NCAP’s operation is dedicated to the manufacturing of high-quality aluminium castings that are fitted to Nissan’s battery electric and hybrid vehicles sold globally, with NCAP recognised as a centre of manufacturing excellence within the global Nissan network.
Angus Robinson is the manager of new projects and business development for NCAP and further explained the plant and which parts of Nissan it serves.
“We are a part of the powertrain division,” he said.
“We are supplying engines and other powertrain components to the global market, and we are exporting 100 per cent of what we produce.
“We are also producing some accessories as well to support the aftersales division, which can include things such as towbars and other aftersales components for Australia and New Zealand,” Robinson said.
NCAP is exporting to a range of countries including Japan, Thailand, USA, and Mexico. With a team of 140 permanent staff and between 55 and 70 contractors the company is an important employer in the southeast of Melbourne.
Robinson explained that much of the components manufactured in NCAP’s Dandenong site will find its way back to Australia in the Nissans sold locally.
Working with SEMMA
NCAP has identified the importance of working closely with the South East Melbourne Manufacturers Alliance, with general manager Markus Spindler a member of the SEMMA board.
“I know the team values the relationship and particularly throughout COVID they were so valuable in having a single voice for the southeast of Melbourne and supporting manufacturing businesses,” Robinson explained.
“With very little automotive manufacturing left in Australia we need to look globally for comparisons, but by being SEMMA members we can lean on local manufacturers for idea sharing and support.”
Robinson went on to explain the collaboration between SEMMA members.
“I know we have helped other SEMMA members and vice versa in the 20 years the organisation has existed,” he said.
“Recently, we were considering putting a laser welding unit into the workshop and we were able to reach out to other members to understand challenges and what to look out for when it came to installation.
“The knowledge sharing is fantastic and creates a real hub in the southeast of Melbourne in which we can share discoveries and grow as an industry in the southeast.”