The Nikkei reports that Leading Japanese manufacturers have teamed up with the government in a program to develop solid-state batteries. The new program teams the Consortium for Lithium Ion Battery Technology and Evaluation Center (Libtec) with companies such as Toyota Motor and Panasonic.
To support the program, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will provide ¥1.6 billion ($14 million) in funding to Libtec, a research body whose members include Asahi Kasei and Toray Industries. Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor, Panasonic and battery maker GS Yuasa will also participate.
Toyota has been working on solid-state battery technology for some time (earlier post), but has yet to reach the commercialization stage. The program aims to make this happen by combining expertise from each member of the consortium.
Key goals of the program include improving battery performance and establishing safety criteria for the new batteries.
Libtec hopes to develop a solid-state battery that doubles the range of electric vehicles to 800 km (497 miles) by 2030 over the current 400 km (249 miles). For the time being, it is targeting a more modest range of 550 km (342 miles) by 2025.
Japanese companies accounted for 70% of the global automotive battery market in 2013, but they are being challenged by China and South Korea. Chinese companies expanded their combined global share to 26% in 2016 from just 3% in 2013. Over the same period, Japanese manufacturers’ share shrunk to 41%.
The Nikkei said that Japan’s industry ministry is eager for the country to reclaim its global dominance by setting standards for solid-state batteries. It may seek to register related technologies with the International Electrotechnical Commission, a standards organization for electronics.