Nissan pioneers solid state batteries for EVs: faster to charge, cheaper and in production by 2028…

Nissan hints that the new solid state technology will enable electric to be better used in new ranges of vehicles similar to its latest concept cars

Solid state with no liquid means lightning fast charging speeds of up to 400kW possible

Nissan, which led EV development with its Leaf model in 2010 has announced plans to pioneer solid-state batterys for its EVs with pilot battery manufacturing to begin by 2025 and production cars on sale by 2028.

The company says it will have a pilot solid-state battery production plant up and running by 2025 with engineering completed on the initial technology by 2026. Mass production of cars using the batteries is likely to follow with cars on sale by 2028.

Solid state batteries are likely to have double the density of the current lithium ion batteries and may offer three times current charging speeds and may come in at considerably lower cost.

David Moss, Nissan’s senior vice-president for research and development in Europe, said that Nissan had gone from small button cells to larger (10cm) square cells at the current stage of development in Japan. Final cells will be likely to end up the size of a laptop.

Nissan has been working with scientists at the University of Oxford to developing the technology. Moss described Nissan’s solid-state tech as “all solid-state”, in that it removes all liquid elements from the battery.

“Can you delete the liquid electrolyte out of the battery? This is where we think we’re leading,” said Moss. “Some solid-state batteries still have the liquid electrolytes, and this is an issue, as that liquid boils. The efficiency of that energy in storage and transfer and the power you put into it will be impacted.”

Moss said solid-state tech “opens up electric mobility to sectors that you can’t today”, such as the largest pick-up trucks and SUVs.

Any development in a production vehicle would have to be based on all-new architecture and most likely built in a new factory, because the impact on almost every element of the car’s development and manufacturing is so dramatic.

Nissan’s concept cars (the Max-Out, Surf-Out and Hang-Out) suggested market segments that stand to benefit from its next-generation EV hardware.

“When you commit to something like solid-state, you have to change the whole mechanism and architecture of the vehicle,” said Moss. The tech is being developed separately from any vehicle project to ensure that it is not introduced prematurely or does not cause any specific project to be delayed.

Charging speeds will be key to reducing costs, because faster, more stable and more consistent charging will in turn mean smaller batteries can be fitted to vehicles.

“If you can put in energy three times faster, is it any different to filling a [petrol] vehicle?” said Moss. “We don’t know yet [about battery size], but we might have two sizes of battery – one for really heavy users who need massive range, but if you can put energy in like petrol, do you need the size?”

Tripling charging speeds would take Nissan from around 130kW to 400kW as an example given, but the charge would be more consistently delivered at those speeds, rather than speeding up and slowing down depending on temperature.

“That’s what the [solid-state] cells can do,” said Moss when asked about 400kW charging speeds. “They can accept it. The liquid cells of today can’t.”

 

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