Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi announced on Thursday that they would band together to make substantial new investments in electric cars as they seek to leverage their sometimes fractious alliance to compete in the global market for battery-powered vehicles.
Speaking from France and Japan during a rare joint presentation, the alliance’s top executives said the companies had moved past the discord sowed by the 2018 ouster of their former chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, which badly frayed their relations and plunged them into disarray.
The alliance — collectively the world’s third-largest automaker — has no choice but to band more closely together as competitors sprint ahead on electric cars. The three companies are leaning into the advantages conferred by their combined scale as they seek to bounce back from the pandemic’s hit to global auto sales and to compete against rivals that have more aggressively pursued the battery-vehicle market, including upstarts like Tesla and traditional rivals like Volkswagen.
Looking forward, the three companies in the alliance unveiled a plan to invest almost $26 billion into the joint development of new battery electric vehicles, with plans to add 35 models to their lineups by 2030.
The companies also said they were aiming for significant savings in overall production costs by increasing the number of components that their various cars have in common, aiming to cut battery costs by 65 percent by 2028.
The fall of Mr. Ghosn, who fled Japan after being arrested on charges of financial wrongdoing during his time at the head of the alliance, was widely seen as a result of a power struggle between Renault and Nissan that some feared could lead to a breakup that they could ill afford.
That has only become more true since the pandemic: Both companies have taken a significant hit from plummeting sales and tightened supply chains, which have limited production.
“We have gone through, the three companies, a very strong crisis in the past few years, and officially we were not brilliant in terms of competitiveness,” said Jean-Dominique Senard, the chairman of the alliance.
But the companies have hammered out their differences, he said, putting an end to years of bitter division: “We are demonstrating clearly that our ties are extremely strong, and I think today are in effect unbreakable.”
The investments in battery vehicles will significantly expand the alliance’s offerings, but the group still lags behind its competitors in its commitment to the vehicles, despite grabbing an early lead in the market with the Nissan Leaf, which was introduced in 2010.
Competitors like General Motors have said they intend to eliminate combustion engines from their lineups during the 2030s, but the alliance is hedging its bets. Nissan, for example, has put forward a much more modest goal: aiming for electric cars to make up 40 percent of its U.S. sales by 2030.
The executives attributed the slower adoption to the alliance’s global market presence, especially in developing countries where high prices for electric cars and less reliable power grids make consumers reluctant to make the switch.