Solid-state batteries and wireless charging represent the next big technological improvements for electric vehicles. Nissan now says it will have a production EV with solid batteries in 2028.
Promised are longer range, shorter charge times, and less chance of fire, but questions about cost and life span must be solved.
Other automakers, including Ford, BMW, and Toyota, are all working on solid-state technology, with plans to introduce some version of the tech as early as 2025.
All this month, Nissan is hosting an exhibit at its Global Headquarters Gallery in Yokohama, Japan, called Nissan Futures. As the name implies, the display focuses on how Nissan works on that elusive "future of sustainable mobility" concept. One of the core ideas to be discussed is "evolved solid-state batteries." We might see a production Nissan electric vehicle with these next-gen packs by 2028.
Nissan's plans include getting a pilot production plant producing the first solid-state batteries by 2025, completing the initial application engineering by 2026, and then the vehicle application in 2028, according to a new report in Autocar. The automaker is working with researchers at the University of Oxford on the project.
"We Think We Have Something Quite Special"
"We think we have something quite special and are in a group leading the technology," Nissan senior vice-president for research and development in Europe, David Moss, told Autocar. "We want to get the cost down [compared with standard lithium-ion batteries] by 50 percent, to double the energy density and to offer three times the charging speed."
Evolved solid-state batteries are also known as all-solid-state sodium batteries or ASSBs. As Moss explained to Autocar, ASSBs—which have no liquid electrolyte—are Nissan's target, but the company will continue to develop lithium-ion batteries as it works on ASSBs. Moss told Autocar that Nissan expects to introduce a next-gen lithium battery in the next few years and a cobalt-free li-ion battery in 2028. Moss said these cobalt-free li-ion packs could reduce battery costs by up to 65 percent.
Other automakers are working on solid-state batteries. Toyota is partnering with Panasonic on solid-state batteries that will be used in a hybrid in 2025. Last year, a startup called Solid Power started making solid-state test batteries for both Ford and BMW vehicles.
A Chance for Nissan to Pull Ahead
Nissan was once the leader in lower-cost, mass-market EVs, but the delayed rollout of the Ariya and the rise of an entire fleet of competitor EVs has since squandered the head start provided by the Leaf. Being early to market with a solid-state EV—which, as Moss said, could provide a long range with short recharge speeds—would put Nissan back on top, at least technologically. Moss told Autocar that solid-state packs would also offer Nissan engineers options.
"If you can put in energy three times faster, is it any different to filling a [gasoline] vehicle?" he told Autocar. "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 [gasoline], do you need the size?"
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