Major Japanese Automakers Team Up to Develop Holy Grail Batteries

Sean Szymkowski
by Sean Szymkowski

Nearly every major automaker has declared the future is electric. If so, the next leap forward will be solid-state batteries, which outdo lithium-ion units.

Facing pressures from global scientists, major Japanese automakers and the state government have joined forces to develop next-generation solid-state batteries. A report from Nikkei on Sunday said the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will provide $14-million to support the initiative.

Automakers joining forces include Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. Other companies have also signed on for the initiative and include Panasonic and Libtec, a research body.

Solid-state batteries are seen as the holy grail for battery technology. Current lithium-ion batteries use liquid electrolytes, but solid-state units employ a solid form, as the name implies. They’re easier to manufacture and boast numerous safety improvements over today’s lithium-ion batteries. More importantly, solid-state batteries are denser, which allows companies to squeeze greater performance out of them.

SEE ALSO: Mercedes Developing Solid State Batteries, Applying Mild Hybrid Tech Across Range

The Japanese initiative has set a goal to develop a solid-state battery with a range of 341 miles by 2025. The long-term goal is to produce a unit capable of going 500 miles by 2030.

Battery production is poised to become a major economic factor in the future, and the initiative is also seen as a way to bolster Japan’s presence. China and South Korea have eagerly challenged Japan with lofty goals to put tens of millions of electric cars on the road in the near future.

Thus far, there is no set manufacturing process to produce solid-state batteries, and the Japanese automakers will face stiff competition. Numerous other automakers and companies have vowed to bring solid-state batteries to market next decade. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Fisker have all laid out goals in an attempt to be first to market.

A version of this story originally appeared on Hybrid Cars

Sean Szymkowski
Sean Szymkowski

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