There’s an even bigger buzz around Nissan other than its recent purchase of a controlling stake in Mitsubishi Motors and it’s one that could significantly impact the development of electric vehicles; Nissan currently sells the popular Leaf and e-NV200 electric vehicles.
The bane of electric vehicles are battery charge time and potential distance, two very important factors holding back mass adoption of electric cars. In order to cover a longer distance, the battery needs to be bigger which equates to extra weight and sacrifices space. Current electric vehicles mainly use lithium-ion batteries to store power. In many of these lithium-ion batteries, graphite is commonly used as the anode due to its conductive properties. More importantly, graphite has a lower expansion rate than crytalline silicon (which holds more charge) when charged and thus deteriorates less.
Thus Nissan Motor Co Ltd and subsidiary, Nissan Arc Ltd (Nissan Analysis and Research Center) has been busy in the lab studying the atomic makeup of silicon and found the potential of amorphous silicon monoxide which holds a greater amount of lithium and doesn’t deteriorate over repeated charge cycles.
This breakthrough was the result of a combined R&D effort between Nissan Arc Ltd, Tohoku University, the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI), and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), using structural analyses and computer simulations.
“The invention of this new analysis method is essential to further develop the next generation of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. It will certainly become one of our core technologies. The utilization of this analysis method in our future R&D will surely contribute to extending the cruising range of future zero-emission vehicles,” said Takao Asami, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and President of Nissan Arc Ltd.
This paper has been published in the journal, Nature Communications. Click on this link if you’re interested in reading further.