Solid State Batteries For Future Nissans

| Transport

Solid state batteries are processed in a way that defines their laminated structure

Nissan builds prototype production facility for laminated solid-state EV batteries to provide greater energy density

Japanese car manufacturer Nissan has been publicly discussing its plans for the future and its vision for the company’s range of electric vehicle that it plans to have in place by the end of the decade.

“Nissan Ambition 2030” centres around three concept cars, which share a common platform. The CMF-EV platform the company intends to use benefits from the existing e-4ORCE drive train and the ASSB (All Solid State Battery) technology that is being developed and will be available commercially within five years.

According to Nissan, the technology considers the direction of future EVs and how advancements in battery technology, hardware and packaging can offer customers a wide variety of mobility choices to match their needs and lifestyles. These are encapsulated in the three concept cars the company has recently revealed.

At the core of the Nissan EV Technology Vision is the integration of all solid-state battery technology that integrates with optimised components into a skateboard-like structure that allows for a variety of vehicle types. The optimum hardware structure will bring out the full potential of future complex software configurations and further realise the precision, performance, efficiency and versatility of electric vehicles.

CMF-EV Platform

Known colloquially as the ‘magic flying carpet’ within Nissan, the CMF-EV platform provides extensive creative opportunities for designers to concentrate on the needs of the vehicle occupants in their designs rather than the technology.

The EV-dedicated platform will be employed for the first time on the Nissan Ariya, the brand’s first all-electric coupé-crossover.

According to Pierre Loing, Vice President, Product Planning, Nissan Motor in the UK, the CMF-EV platform is a marvel of creative engineering, providing exceptional living-room style space with a longer cabin length to vehicle length ratio and accommodating the established state-of-the-art e-4ORCE drivetrain technology.

“Its versatility gives us the ability to push the boundaries of engineering and design capabilities,” he says.

Maintaining the Alliance

As a member of a powerful automotive alliance, Nissan can’t operate in total isolation and indeed the CMF-EV platform brings further opportunities for collaboration. The platform makes use of synergies within the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, maximising manufacturing efficiency to achieve the partners’ common 2030 roadmap – bringing optimum value to customers heading into an electrified future.

As recently announced by the Alliance companies, the platform will form the basis for 15 electric models by 2030.

“CMF-EV is defined by technological innovation and the potential of its modularity, paving the way for the next exciting generation of electric vehicles from Nissan and our Alliance partners,” adds Loing.

The Nissan Ariya is the first to deploy the platform and marks a new chapter in Nissan electrification. The vehicle provided the company with a unique opportunity to showcase everything it had learned from the past decade about electric mobility and challenge expectations of its future development. “It’s this ethos that the CMF-EV platform represents,” says David Moss, Senior Vice President, Regional Research & Development, Nissan Technical Centre Europe.

Laying the groundwork for the open floor concept, Nissan’s engineers gave the CMF-EV platform a flat construction bed. Placeholders for electric motors were plotted directly adjacent to the front and rear axles, while the battery packs were designed to be as slim as possible, forming a structural support system for the platform.

Placing the air conditioning unit further forward and optimising the front and rear seating positions in the absence of a transmission tunnel allowed Nissan’s designers to make use of all available space.

The CMF-EV platform is flexible enough to accommodate multiple specifications of power units and drivetrains – including a single-motor offering and dual-motor e-4ORCE configuration.

e-4ORCE is Nissan’s most advanced all-wheel control technology. Through a series of precise motor and braking inputs, the innovative system strikes a balance between powerful performance and precise control offering elevated driver confidence on a variety of road surfaces.

The e-4ORCE drivetrain also carefully minimises vehicle pitch under braking, optimising brake balance between the front and rear to provide a stable, smooth ride for driver and passengers.

The CMF-EV platform and the e-4ORCE drive train combination also gives Nissan much more flexibility on power source and has been engineered to accommodate the company’s ambitious and novel battery concept, the ASSB.

Destined for use in Nissan’s car output later in this decade, the technology is already at a point where the company is laying down production capacity to meet the expected high levels of demand.

ASSB Production

The first part of the battery’s production phase is prototyping and the company has now unveiled its prototype production facility for the battery cells. The facility is housed within the Nissan Research Centre in Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan and is aimed to further promote the development of all-solid-state-batteries.

Under the Nissan Ambition 2030 plan, Nissan aims to launch an EV with all-solid-state batteries developed in-house by 2028. To meet this target, it first plans to establish a pilot production line at its Yokohama Plant in 2024, with materials, design and manufacturing processes for prototype production on the line to be studied at the prototype production facility. Nissan believes all-solid-state batteries can be reduced to $75 per kWh in 2028 and to $65 per kWh thereafter, placing EVs at the same cost level as petrol engined vehicles.

All-solid-state batteries are expected to accelerate the popularity of electric vehicles as they have an energy density approximately twice that of conventional lithium-ion batteries, significantly shorter charging time due to superior charge/discharge performance, and lower cost thanks to the opportunity of using less expensive materials. With these benefits, Nissan expects to use all-solid-state batteries in a wide range of vehicle segments, including pickup trucks, making its EVs more competitive.

According to Kunio Nakaguro, executive vice president in charge of R&D, Nissan has had a prominent position in electrification technology through a wide range of R&D activities, from molecular-level battery material research to the development of safe, high-performance EVs. Initiatives in the field have even included city development using EVs as storage batteries.

“The knowledge gained from our experience supports the development of all-solid-state batteries and we’ve accumulated important elemental technologies. Going forward, our R&D and manufacturing divisions will continue to work together to use this prototype production facility and accelerate the practical application of all-solid-state batteries,” he concludes.

Jonathan Newell
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