Nissan moves towards solid-state battery production
Image credit: Nissan
Nissan aims to have electric vehicles with solid-state batteries on sale in six years time, saying that the technology will bring EV costs down to those of petrol.
Last week, the Japanese company unveiled a prototype production facility for laminated all-solid-state battery (ASSB) cells at its research centre in Kanagawa.
Solid-state batteries use a solid electrolyte instead of the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in lithium-ion or lithium polymer batteries. This is expected to make them safer in use and give vehicles a longer range between charges.
Nissan says ASSBs have an energy density approximately twice that of conventional lithium-ion batteries, significantly shorter charging time due to superior charge/discharge performance, and lower cost thanks to the opportunity of using less expensive materials.
With these benefits, the carmaker expects to use all-solid-state batteries in a wide range of vehicle segments, including pickup trucks, making its EVs more competitive.
In a vision statement issued in November 2021, Nissan said it aims to launch an EV with its proprietary ASSB by fiscal year 2028.
The plan is to establish a pilot ASSB production line at the Yokohama plant in fiscal 2024, with materials, design and manufacturing processes for the line to be studied at the Kanagawa facility. Nissan believes all-solid-state batteries can be reduced to $75 per kWh in fiscal 2028 and to $65 per kWh thereafter, placing EVs at the same cost level as petrol-powered vehicles.
Kunio Nakaguro, executive vice president in charge of R&D, said: "Nissan has been a leader in electrification technology through a wide range of R&D activities. The knowledge gained from our experience supports the development of all-solid-state batteries and we’ve accumulated important elemental technologies.
“Going forward, our R&D and manufacturing divisions will continue to work together to utilise this prototype production facility and accelerate the practical application of all-solid-state batteries.”
Other automotive companies are also investing in solid-state batteries and the technology is also the subject of academic research. Toyota, for example, says it holds over 1,000 SSB patents and hopes to be the first company to sell an electric vehicle equipped with a solid-state battery by the mid-2020s. Ford and BMW are equal equity owners in battery producer Solid Power.
In the UK, a consortium of seven academic and industrial organisations agreed in August 2021 to set up a prototyping facility and develop “highly scalable” manufacturing techniques for solid-state battery technology with the automotive sector in mind. The memorandum of understanding was signed by Johnson Matthey, Faraday Institution, Britishvolt, Oxford University, UK Battery Industrialisation Centre, Emerson & Renwick and University of Warwick.
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