Nissan is pumping up its presence in the EV market through the Formula E racing series while prepping  for a new all solid-state EV battery, slated for mass production in 2028 (image courtesy of Nissan).

Nissan Teases New All Solid-State EV Battery For Itself, Renault, & Mitsubishi Motors

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There they go again. Nissan has been dropping hints about producing a new solid-state battery for several years now, and the company just dropped another clue earlier this week. Pinning down exactly what materials are in play is a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. Nissan has been keeping a lid on that news, but perhaps the folks over at Oxford University can provide some answers.

Nissan Gets One Step Closer To The All Solid-State EV Battery Of The Future

The advantages of solid-state EV battery technology are well known. Compared to conventional lithium-ion EV batteries, they offer longer range, faster charging times, a smaller and lighter profile, and safety improvements.

Getting all those elements to work together in a mass-marketable energy storage system has been a tough row to hoe. Researchers have been making steady progress over the past 10 years and more, but some analysts believe that solid-state EV battery technology won’t be ready for prime time until after 2030.

Nissan is not among them. In 2021, the company announced that a solid-state battery would show up in its electric vehicles before 20230.

“Nissan aims to launch EV with its proprietary all-solid-state batteries (ASSB) by fiscal year 2028 and ready a pilot plant in Yokohama as early as fiscal year 2024,” the company said of itself, in a press release dated November 28, 2021.

The company wasn’t saying what goes into the battery, but did say what it expect from it. Nissan listed a reduction in charging time “to one-third,” while bringing the cost of battery packs down to $75.00 per kilowatt-hour by 2028, with the ultimate goal of $65.00

Renault & Mitsubishi Motors Come Along For The All Solid-State EV Battery Ride

Whatever it is, the new solid-state EV battery will likely show up in Renault and Mitsubishi Motors vehicles as well as Nissan EVs. The three companies formed a collaboration called Alliance 2030 several years ago. The effort deploys a “leader-follower” model in which Nissan is taking the lead for solid-state EV battery development.

In 2022 Nissan affirmed the plan in a press release under the headline, “Nissan to lead development of breakthrough all-solid-state battery technology to benefit all members.”

“ASSB will have double the energy density versus current liquid lithium-ion batteries,” Nissan explained.  “Charging time will also be greatly reduced to one-third, enabling customers to make longer trips with increased, convenience, confidence and enjoyment.”

The company also affirmed its aim of mass producing the new solid-state EV battery by 2028.

Nissan was still holding its solid-state EV battery cards close to the vest back then, and still is not giving away the store. Earlier this week, on April 16, the company issued a widely covered press release describing a media tour of its new battery pilot line at the Yokohama Plant in Kanagawa Prefecture.

“The pilot line is aimed to further promote development and innovative manufacturing technologies for the batteries,” the company explained, indicating that there are still some kinks to be worked out.

The company noted that its fiscal year 2028 launch for EVs sporting the new battery is still on track.

In the same announcement, Nissan teased the idea that it is eyeballing the hot pickup truck market for the solid-state EV battery of the future.

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Okay, So What Is Actually In This EV Battery?

In the same press release, Nissan mentioned that it is “conducting wide ranging research and development” on all aspects of EV technology including “molecular-level battery material research.”

And, that’s all they were saying. However, if you do some extra weeding through the Intertubes, you will find a widely covered news item from 2023 indicating that Nissan has been partnering with Oxford University on solid-state EV battery research.

EVCIA, the Electric Vehicle Chargepoint Installers Association, was among those covering the news.

“David Moss, Nissan’s senior vice-president for research and development in Europe, said that Nissan had gone from small button cells to larger (10cm) square cells at the current stage of development in Japan. Final cells will be likely to end up the size of a laptop,” EVICA reported on March 1, 2023.

“Nissan has been working with scientists at the University of Oxford to developing the technology,” they added.

So, what has Oxford University been up to lately? The renowned institution appears regularly on the pages of CleanTechnica, partly on account of the commercial solar cell spinoff Oxford PV.

The solid-state EV battery angle is new to CleanTechnica. Catching up with the latest news, we see that Oxford scientists are on track to solve the dendrite problem, which refers to the tiny hairlike growths that form in EV batteries over time, reducing performance and potentially impacting safety if not taken care of.

Dendrites are more familiar as a design challenge for conventional lithium-ion batteries with liquid electrolytes, but they can also form in solid-state batteries.

The new Oxford research doesn’t actually solve the problem, but it does provide a clear picture of the mechanisms that cause failure in lithium-metal solid-state EV battery technology.

“If these can be overcome, solid-state batteries using lithium metal anodes could deliver a step-change improvement in EV battery range, safety and performance, and help advance electrically powered aviation,” the school noted in a press release dated August 6 of 2023.

Specifically, the researchers were able to describe two separate elements of the dendrite formation process in a study published in the journal Nature in June of 2023. “Previous models of dendrite penetration have generally focused on a single process for dendrite initiation and propagation, with Li [lithium] driving the crack at its tip,” they explained. “Here we show that initiation and propagation are separate processes.”

Back in 2021, Oxford University also signed on to a seven-member UK solid-state battery research initiative, which could also help accelerate the technology into mass production.

As for more details about the Nissan relationship, CleanTechnica is reaching out to the automaker and Oxford for more details.

For now, we’re guessing that the new solid-state EV battery will be designed around Nissan’s sustainability program, which is heavily dosed with recycling, reclaiming, and reusing EV batteries and battery materials (see our Nissan archive here).

Meanwhile, Nissan’s foray into the Formula E electric racing series could also provide some clues. There is talk of introducing solid-state batteries to the series within the next couple of years, so stay tuned for more on that.

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Photo credit: Nissan is pumping up its presence in the EV market through the Formula E racing series while prepping for a new all solid-state EV battery, slated for mass production in 2028 (courtesy of Nissan).

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Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

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