Nissan Motor has embarked on an ambitious initiative to manufacture lithium-ion batteries using more cost-effective materials, targeting their integration into electric vehicles (EVs) destined for emerging markets by 2026, according to a report by Nikkei. This strategic move positions Nissan to leverage lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which are approximately 20% to 30% less expensive to produce than the traditional lithium-ion batteries composed of nickel, cobalt, and manganese (NCM).
The introduction of LFP batteries, however, comes with a compromise on energy density, resulting in a 20% to 30% reduction in driving range per charge when compared to their NCM counterparts. Nissan’s research and development efforts centered around LFP technology are currently underway at its Atsugi city facility in Japan. Plans are also being considered to commence production of these batteries in-house at its Yokohama plant among other locations.
The initiative is set against a backdrop where Chinese EV manufacturers, notably BYD and CATL, have pioneered the development and application of LFP batteries. These advancements have positioned LFP technology as a viable alternative, especially in the Chinese market where EVs equipped with LFP batteries have overtaken those with NCM batteries since 2021.
With the global EV landscape evolving, the International Energy Agency reported that LFP batteries were featured in 27% of new EVs in 2022, marking a significant increase from 3% three years prior. The dominance of Chinese-made vehicles in the usage of LFP batteries underscores the technological and market advancements achieved by China in this domain.
Nissan’s strategy reflects a broader industry trend towards diversifying battery technology to reduce costs and enhance the accessibility of EVs in various markets. By adopting LFP batteries, Nissan aims to cater to the cost-sensitive segments of the emerging markets, where the demand for affordable and reliable EVs is on the rise.
In addition to its focus on LFP batteries, Nissan is also advancing its plans to introduce 27 electrified models by 2030, which includes a mix of EVs and hybrid vehicles. The company is further exploring the commercialization of solid-state batteries by as early as fiscal 2028, despite facing challenges related to cost and durability.
This move by Nissan underscores the automotive industry’s ongoing efforts to innovate and adapt in response to the dynamic needs of global markets, with a keen eye on sustainability and affordability.