Nissan gives first look at prototype production plant for solid-state batteries

Nissan is aiming to produce an electric car with in-house developed solid-state batteries by 2028

Nissan’s solid-state battery ambitions have taken an important step forward. The manufacturer has established a prototype facility for producing solid-state cells within the Nissan Research Center in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.

The plant is a crucial step in Nissan’s plan to launch an electric car powered by solid-state batteries by 2028. Between then and now, a pilot production line will be built at the company’s Yokohama plant in the 2024 fiscal year.

Engineers will study the materials, design and manufacturing processes used on this line, with a view to reducing the cost per kWh of solid-state batteries to $75 in 2028, and then $65. This, Nissan says, will place EVs at a similar cost to their combustion equivalents. 

Solid-state batteries are seen as a crucial next step in EV technology. The key difference is the switching of the liquid-based electrolyte used in conventional EV batteries to a thin solid electrolyte, often made from ceramic or solid polymers.

Compared to the lithium-ion battery cells normally found in an EV, solid-state cells are lighter, potentially cheaper due to the use of less expensive raw materials, and are faster to charge. Bringing them to market is easier said than done, however, hence Nissan’s late 2020s target. Rival Japanese carmaker Honda meanwhile expects to release a solid-state-powered EV during the second half of this decade.

Mercedes-Benz, Stellantis, Hyundai and Kia have looked outside their own organisations for solid-state research, with all these companies investing in US-based Factorial Energy. Mercedes hopes to have solid-state batteries in “a limited number of vehicles as part of a small series within the next five years,” while Stellantis is aiming to have such a battery pack in a car by 2026. A public target hasn’t been given by Hyundai and Kia. 

Speaking about Nissan’s in-house solid-state plans, executive vice president for R&D Kunio Nakaguro said: 

"Nissan has been a leader in electrification technology through a wide range of R&D activities, from molecular-level battery material research to the development of safe, high-performance EVs. Our initiatives even include city development using EVs as storage batteries. 

“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."

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