Electric Cars

Honda hops on solid-state battery bandwagon

Given how they can benefit future EVs, it's not surprising.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

You're probably going to hear the words "solid-state batteries" being tossed around for the next few years. Heck, news from Honda has me typing those words out for the second time this week.

Honda is currently researching the use of solid-state batteries in electric cars, Reuters reports, citing confirmation from a Japanese Honda spokesman. The spokesman says Honda is working on them by itself, running counter to a report from earlier this week that claimed Honda and Nissan have teamed up on the topic.

I don't care what battery is in it, so long as Honda actually brings its Urban EV concept to life, I'll be happy.

Honda

Right now, the lithium-ion batteries used in electric and electrified vehicles rely on a liquid- or gel-based electrolyte. The electrolyte is responsible for acting as the pathway for electricity as the battery discharges. Solid-state batteries, as the name suggests, rely on a solid electrolyte instead.

Solid electrolytes are claimed to have better thermal management and energy density properties. To explain it without requiring a physics degree, more energy density means packing more overall range for the car into a smaller, lighter battery. Better thermal management means a reduced reliance on cooling systems and better fire protection.

Currently, the technology is far too expensive to shove into a mass-market hybrid or EV. That's where the automakers come in -- they're working to make these solid-state batteries affordable enough for consumers to enjoy the benefits without paying an arm and a leg to do so.

Honda is far from the only automaker to dig into solid-state batteries. Toyota was one of the first to announce its move into this area of research. Earlier this week, BMW said it was looking into the same thing. Toyota doesn't expect solid-state batteries to start entering its vehicles until the early 2020s.