As automakers continue to adopt sustainability and develop electric vehicles, Japan’s Honda makes its next move by investing in solid-state batteries. 

Although Honda may have been slow to catch the electric vehicle (EV) wave, the Japanese automaker is catching up with its competitors as it invests US$4.4 billion in a US-based battery plant.

Building the plant in partnership with South Korea’s LG Energy Solution, Honda has allocated US$310 million (JP¥43 billion) to developing an all solid-state battery production line. Demonstrating the company’s stance towards EVs, the line is scheduled to begin in spring 2024 at Honda’s research centre in Sakura, where mass production technical issues will be addressed.

Solid-state batteries replace liquid electrolytes with solid electrolytes, and are projected to replace lithium-ion batteries. They can store energy more efficiently and are less of a fire hazard.

Honda has set the goal to sell solid-state battery powered EVs in the second half of the 2020s, with potential applications even more motorcycles.

“We intend to fully ascertain in-house production and cost structures to enable mass production of next-generation battery technology researched and developed internally,” shared Shinji Aoyama, Honda’s Senior Managing Executive Officer in charge of their electrification strategy.

Nissan has also announced plans to begin mass production of solid-state batteries by 2028 and is currently researching sulfur-based materials that can be used in contrast with the conventional nickel, manganese, or cobalt.

The automobile manufacturer has been testing solid-state batteries for EVs since last year at their Oppama assembly plant in Yokosuka and aims to start a test line at their Yokohama plant in 2024.

“We accumulated EV technology and we have a wealth of human resources. We seek to do all in our power commercialise all solid-state batteries before competitors,” said a Nissan executive.

Toyota and Panasonic Holdings have also teamed up to form a joint-venture company to develop solid-state batteries, with the competitive edge of Toyota being the world leader in number of battery patents held, and aim to release a solid-state battery-equipped hybrid vehicle by the mid-2020s.

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