Nissan is working on its next-gen technology, solid-state batteries, possibly for its next-gen Leaf. The development is already underway and mass production is expected to start by early 2028. With these batteries, the automaker is going to bring down the costs of electric vehicles by 50%.
Further, the solid-state batteries double the energy density and increase the charging speed three times. Under current development in Japan, the small button cells of the new battery technology are 10cm in size. But in the final development stage, these cells will increase to the size of a laptop. Nissan is working with scientists from the University of Oxford to develop solid-state batteries. The carmaker believes that with these batteries, the application of EVs would extend to a much larger scale, including large pick-up trucks and SUVs. This technology is being developed separately from any vehicle project.
As the project is being developed separately, it ensures no specific delays in development and also provides a scalable application for these batteries. Also, the charging of solid-state batteries will help reduce electric vehicle costs. This is because faster, more stable, and more consistent charging will allow smaller batteries to be fitted to vehicles.
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. 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 that solid-state packs would also offer Nissan engineers options. “We think we have something quite special and are in a group leading the technology,” Nissan’s senior vice president for research and development in Europe, David Moss, told.
He further added, “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.” 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. Nissan expects to introduce a next-gen lithium battery in the next few years and a cobalt-free li-ion battery in 2028.