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Report: Nissan On Track with Nickel Manganese Cobalt Li-ion Cell for Deployment in 2015

The Nikkei reports that Nissan Motor Co. has nearly completed development of a lithium-ion battery using a lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode (NMC). The new system, which will reportedly offer almost double the capacity of Nissan/AESC’s current manganese spinel cell, is supposedly slated for deployment in electric vehicles in 2015.

Nissan is raising capacity by improving the positive electrode, specifically, using nickel and cobalt, not only manganese. The new battery can store about twice as much electricity as batteries with positive electrodes made only from manganese. It is robust enough for practical use, able to withstand 1,000 or so charge cycles.

Nissan estimates that the battery will cost about the same as conventional lithium ion ones to produce, as it contains only a small amount of cobalt, a relatively expensive metal.

Nickel Manganese Cobalt oxide materials have attracted a great deal of interest due to the potential higher capacity. As one example, Argonne Labs in the US has done quite a bit of work with the NMC family over the past years, and has licensed some of its formulations to Toda Kyogo in Japan in 2008 (earlier post) and to BASF (earlier post).

In some formulations, the Argonne NMC materials can provide an initial capacity of > 250 mAh g-1 when discharged between 5 and 2.0V and a rechargeable capacity of up to 250 mAh g-1 over the same window. By contrast, the practical capacity of conventional cobalt oxide electrodes is approximately 140 mAh g-1. Spinel LiMn2O4 and olivine LiFePO4, while more thermally and structurally stable than the cobalt oxides, deliver relatively low practical capacities above 3V in a lithium cell—typically 100-120 mAh g-1.

In another partnership deal announced earlier this year, 3M entered into a strategic relationship and an agreement with China-based Amperex Technologies Ltd. (ATL) that will expand the use of nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode materials in lithium-ion batteries targeted at consumer electronics and automotive applications. (Earlier post.)

Other companies working with NMC materials include Panasonic, Sanyo, Hitachi, GS Yuasa, Samsung, EnerDel, Kokam, Evonik/Litarion, Enax, and Imara.



Anything for a better battery.

In this vain, I read that the US approves of the Panasonic/Sanyo merger - provided that NiMH batteries are divested to a separate firm.

Why is the one commercially proven EV battery patent/chemistry bounced about - inventor, GM, Chevron, Sanyo, ..?


My impression is that we COULD have had PHEVs 10 years ago if large format NiMH batteries like the EV-95 were readily available on the OEM market. This is one of those "what if" scenarios that no one can prove, however.


250Wh/kg by 2015 breaks the 5-8% annual Li-Ion battery improvement pattern, so it would be a welcome improvement. At that rate we wouldn't hit those figures until 2020-2025.

I would assume most of the improvement will go into making the battery smaller and lighter. Cost might stay the same, but you can make small cars with less battery volume, or make bigger cars with the same battery volume (minivans, SUVs). Maybe we see a slight bump to the capacity to allow a LEAF to go about 100 miles on the highway and 130 in city driving, but that would only account for a third of the improvement - raw battery weight and volume go down 25-30% (assuming there are commensurate improvements in Wh/L as well).


If they can put on the market a car battery that get 200Whrs/Kg by 2015 that is a game changer. You could make a car that get 200miles with only 300Kg of battery, that would be an ICE killer.

Well let see what EESTOR scam will yield, I just saw an interview of Ian Clifford who claims that by the end of this year they will show something, 1 million cycles successfully obtained,etc...still he hasn't seen any prototype...


1000 cycle lifespan is not a good thing tho thats a third what many other batteries provide.


1000 cycles is not that great, and asides when a company announce a product 5 years in advance, well you can't take it as a commitment, by no means. In 2015 nobody will remember what they promised in 2009, so better not to bet on this.


Nissan estimates that the battery will cost about the same as conventional lithium ion ones to produce

What do they exactly mean by this? Price per kWh or price per kg?


"What do they exactly mean by this? Price per kWh or price per kg?"

I expect they mean price per kilogram. Price per kWh would effectively be halved.


No they mean price per kwh thats how they price batteries.


wintermane said, "1000 cycle lifespan is not a good thing tho[sic] thats[sic] a third what many other batteries provide."

Not that bad - we need to know the number of years it will last as well though.

1000 cycles on a vehicle with a 100 mile range (Nissan Leaf) yields just under 100,000 miles before the batteries get to 80% life, but this considers fully cycling the battery. If they are using an "oversize" battery and using a conservative SOC on the batteries I don't see most people noticing a problem before they are ready to change to a new car. That is, of course, with the assumption that the average customer of a Nissan Leaf would not be a road warrior or someone who drives more than the average number of miles per year (12,000 miles or so - 8 years of use before the battery will potentially begin to offer less range).


Well dont forget batteries age faster then that under real world and in fact can vary in aging rate by a rather large margin. They also have a calender life as well.


As a Leaf owner, I have been thinking about what I will do in 2 years when my lease runs out. My current options are:
a) a new Leaf, so long as it has double the range of the current model
b) a Volt, so long as it offers at least 45 EPA miles of pure electric range
c) The Tesla Model E, so long as the range is indeed 200 miles, has access to the supercharger network, and costs south of $40K

A new Leaf would offer regional transportation, whereas the current model is local only. Since Nissan has shown little interest in building out a interstate supercharger network, it still would not be suitable for long trips.

The Volt offers everything I need, but I am reluctant to give up the simplicity of the pure electric approach.

The Tesla's appeal stands or falls on whether its supercharger network makes traveling to the east coast from the Midwest truly practical.

It is not an easy decision.

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