Nissan is reportedly in talks with Panasonic and other overseas companies including Chinese firms over the possible sale of its 51% controlling stake in a car battery manufacturing venture, Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC).

AESC makes lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and the other major partner in the company is NEC Corp.

The Nikkei has reported that Nissan is looking to sell the company because it would be cheaper to buy batteries for its electric vehicles including its Leaf model from other makers.

Talk of the sale "is speculation, and is not based on any announcement by us", Nissan said in an email, according to Reuters.

As the electric vehicle sector grows – manufacturers are having to take electrification more seriously due to future fleet average CO2 and fuel economy targets – higher volume battery production is at the heart of getting unit costs down. More operations are being set up to meet higher volume needs.

Tesla is planning a big boost to battery output at its Gigafactory. Reuters has reported that Nissan is considering using battery packs made by LG Chem.