A Special Peek Inside Nissan's Battery R&D; Laboratory


This is Where the Magic Happens
When it comes to plug-in hybrids and electric cars, power storage is the key. It's the main puzzle that needs to be solved. How to store as much power as possible, as safely as possible, and as inexpensively as possible (fast recharge capability is a bonus).

Nissan's Future Might Come from that Lab
Nissan is very bullish on plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, but to pull it off, they need batteries. Here's a peak inside Nissan's battery lab. It's a bit cluttered, but you'll enjoy it. Read on for more...
What Are They Doing There?
The lab is used for formulating electrode materials, prototyping small cells and evaluating their properties. Since what they are working on prototypes, a lot of it has an almost high-tech artisanal quality.

"The labo is equipped with a mixer for formulating active materials of electrodes, a machine for applying active materials on aluminum sheets as well as a pressing machine for evening out the applied active materials."

"Electrodes for HEV batteries contain smaller amount of active materials (white) and larger amount of conducting aids (purple)."

Nissan showed two types of battery cells: For electric vehicles (EV), and for hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). Of course, the batteries for the former are bigger than for the latter because they need to store more power to provide a useful range.

Power Density
Not all technical details were revealed, but the number of 2,500W/kg made it out. It's pretty good. To put it in perspective, the 2004 geneation of the Toyota Prius has a battery with a power density of 1300 W/kg.

Nissan has also shown interest in iron-series materials, which could be safer and less expensive. China's BYD is already using those, and we recently wrote about a Lithium Iron Phosphate Breakthrough.

The important part is going from the lab to the production line (like the ECO Pedal, for example), though. Lets hope that Nissan can pull it off.

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Tags: Electric Cars | Hybrid Cars | Transportation