But one promising next-generation advancement that likely won’t play a major role in this shift is solid-state battery technology, Nakaguro said. Solid-state battery development is still in the early research stage and a “long way” from widespread commercialization, he said.
Solid-state batteries differ from today’s lithium ion batteries in the use of a solid material for the electrolyte instead of a liquid or gel. Solid-state cells are less vulnerable to extreme temperatures and promise two to three times the energy density of existing lithium ion batteries. They are expected to be lighter, longer lasting, safer and eventually cheaper.
Many companies are working on them; rival Toyota Motor Corp. hopes to put them into limited production by around 2025.
Nakaguro said Nissan’s solid-state efforts have evolved into making small pouch-style batteries and 1-ampere cells. Nissan is working on the coating and pressing of the cells, and he said a key challenge is making a stable connection between the layers of the cells.
“We still have a bit of a long way to utilize this,” he said. “We need a little more time.”
Mass production likely will come around 2025 “at the earliest,” he predicted. Nissan began researching lithium ion batteries in the 1990s and only deployed that technology in the Leaf electric vehicle in 2010, Nakaguro noted. “I’m not so optimistic,” he said about a quick rollout.