Yet another one of the top auto manufacturers in the world, in this case Honda, has now expressed interest in developing its own solid-state battery technology for use in elected vehicles, going on recent reports.
To provide a little extra context we sort of skipped over in previous solid-state battery coverage, it’s perhaps worth highlighting that solid-state batteries have long been considered the next logical step for EV batteries (beyond lithium-ion batteries), but there hasn’t been any clear, known commercial path for any chemistries. It’s basically just been a hope for years that someone (or some people) will figure something out and turn it into a commercial success.
With that background lit up, and without any clear news that a solution for commercially viable solid-state batteries has been found, the cynical among us might see hype about solid-state batteries as yet another delay tactic for a transition mass-market EVs — or for companies lagging behind in this industry.
Honda has certainly been one of those EV laggards. This Honda battery news also follows earlier reports that Toyota, BMW, and Volkswagen are all now actively working to develop commercially viable solid-state electric vehicle batteries — with the allure of the tech for all of them seemingly being the possibility to make up for lost ground in the race towards electric vehicles.
Another more practical appeal might be the hope that a solid-state battery solution could curtail some possible looming resource constraints (this is really more a matter of reducing expected costs than anything else).
Solid-state battery technology, if proponents are to be believed, will provide a much safer and more energy dense, but still commercially viable (cheaper), solution to powering plug-in electric vehicles. However, it’s been extremely unclear if anyone is on a logical path with anything, and automakers have kept what they are working on pretty close to the chest.
“We’ve been researching all solid-state batteries,” explained Honda spokesperson Teruhiko Tatebe when queried by Reuters. “At the moment we’re not developing them with another automaker.”
That second line is essentially a response to earlier reports from Kyodo News that Honda and Nissan were developing solid-state electric vehicle batteries. Nissan has yet to issue a statement on the matter.
Reuters provides more: “Earlier this month, Toyota said it was considering jointly developing the next-generation batteries with Panasonic to share high R&D costs. The automaker is planning to have a production-ready battery in the early 2020s, and has highlighted the need to accelerate the pace of battery development as it and other automakers plan to ramp up the number of electric models they sell in the coming decades.”
Check out our article on the Panasonic + Toyota EV battery partnership if you missed it.
It would stand to reason that Honda is now pursuing similar lines of enquiry, but I guess that we will have to wait to find out more.