Tokyo – Nissan is working with NASA on a new type of battery for electric vehicles that promises to charge faster and be lighter yet safe, the Japanese automaker said on Friday.
According to Nissan, the solid-state battery will replace the lithium-ion battery currently in use for a 2028 product launch and a 2024 pilot plant launch.
The battery would be stable enough to be used in pacemakers, Nissan said. When finished, it will be about half the size of the current battery and will be fully charged in 15 minutes instead of a few hours.
The collaboration with the US space program as well as the University of California San Diego involves testing various materials, corporate vice president Kazuhiro Doi told reporters.
“Both NASA and Nissan need the same type of battery,” he said.
Nissan and NASA use the Original Material Informatics Platform, a computerized database, to test different combinations to see what works best among hundreds of thousands of materials, Doi said.
The goal is to avoid the use of expensive materials such as rare metals that are required for lithium-ion batteries.
Nissan is also counting on its historical experience with the Leaf electric car, which debuted in 2010 and has sold more than half a million units worldwide, although the battery technology is different, Doi and other company officials said.
The Leaf battery hasn’t had any major road accidents, and some parts of the technology are still common, like battery cell lamination, they said.
Other automakers, including Japanese rival Toyota Motor Corp. as well as Volkswagen of Germany and US automakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co., are working on solid-state batteries.
General Motors and Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co. recently announced they are collaborating on next-generation electric vehicles.
But Nissan Executive Vice President Kunio Nakaguro said Nissan is extremely competitive and the battery it is developing promises to be “a game changer”.
Interest in electric vehicles is growing due to concerns about fossil fuel use contributing to itand pollution. Players in the EV sector, such as Tesla and Waymo, are also growing and there is increased competition.
Yokohama-based Nissan Motor Co. was striving to put that behind them. He was arrested in 2018 on various financial misconduct charges in Japan but was not released on bail at the end of 2019 and now resides in Lebanon, a country of his ancestry that does not have an extradition treaty with Japan. He says he’s innocent.
Ghosn, who ran Nissan for two decades, oversaw electric vehicle propulsion for the company, which also makes the March subcompact and Infiniti luxury models.