The first commercial lithium-ion battery was launched by Sony in 1991, but today South Korean and Chinese companies are leading in terms of production. To regain leadership in technology, Japanese manufacturers are focusing on solid-state batteries.
Such batteries, according to the Nikkei Asian Review, will allow electric vehicles to travel up to 1000 km on a single charge, while being less dependent on temperature and being content with less weight. The introduction of solid-state batteries will also be of great importance for stationary energy storage systems – this will give a new impetus to the spread of wind and solar power plants.
Solid-state batteries will be able to recharge faster, which is just as important for electric vehicles as the increased range. Japanese companies expect to be the first to bring this type of battery to the market. Toyota Motor is partnering with Panasonic in this area, preparing to offer solid-state batteries for electric vehicles in 2025 or even earlier. Murata Manufacturing expects to start manufacturing solid-state batteries for smartphones and wearables by April next year.
There are also some technical obstacles along the way. In particular, sulphides used to make solid-state batteries can release gases when in contact with air, which is a safety issue. Manufacturers also need to improve their process technology to eliminate exposure of the electrolyte to atmospheric moisture. Murata is currently working to further increase the capacity of solid-state batteries and improve their charging efficiency. A breakthrough in this area will allow the country to keep up with Chinese competitors, according to Japanese officials.
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