Nissan Motor is leveraging years of experience developing lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles to give the company a head start in building batteries with new but unproven technology that could be key to unlocking the potential of electric vehicles.
Nissan is already developing solid-state battery prototypes as alternatives to liquid electrolytes. The automaker plans to launch new batteries by fiscal year 2028, with pilot production scheduled to begin in 2024. If successful, solid-state batteries could provide a cheaper, safer, and faster-charging alternative to traditional models. By combining different materials, Nissan expects that sooner or later the company will be able to produce a battery with a unit cost of US$65 per kWh – a level at which the price parity of internal combustion engine electric vehicles will be reached.
The problem is that automakers have yet to solve the problem of the formation of lithium dendrites – structures that can cause short circuits. According to experts, the advent of solid-state battery options should be expected closer to 2030 than 2025.
Unlike Western automakers, who mostly rely on start-ups for such developments, Eastern companies like Nissan, Toyota and Honda prefer to build their own developments based on previous experience. According to Nissan representatives, when developing new batteries, the first step is to determine the requirements of the machine in which they will be used. On this basis, requirements for batteries and materials are formulated. This is not easy for companies that specialize only in the production of cars or only batteries.
So far, Nissan has tried to find the optimal combination of solutions through trial and error. According to some reports, the company has already managed to roughly double the capacity of conventional lithium-ion batteries. The company works with partners such as NASA to evaluate countless material combinations for solid-state batteries with the help of big data and AI systems.
Still, it’s difficult to gauge Nissan’s progress at current levels, as the work is kept secret and all battery manufacturers strive to keep their technology hidden from prying eyes. Experts assume that an evaluation of success will only be possible after the appearance of a functioning electric vehicle with new batteries.