Nissan working on next-gen amorphous silicon (SiO) Li-ion battery

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and Nissan Arc Ltd. announced today joint development of an atomic analysis methodology that will aid in boosting the performance of lithium-ion batteries, and ultimately extend the driving range of zero-emission electric vehicles.

The breakthrough was the result of a combined R&D effort between Nissan Arc Ltd., a Nissan subsidiary, Tohoku University, the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), the Japan Synchrotron Radiation Research Institute (JASRI), and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).

The analysis examines the structure of amorphous silicon monoxide (SiO), widely seen as key to boosting next-generation lithium-ion battery (Li-ion) capacity, allowing researchers to better understand electrode structure during charging cycles.

Silicon (Si) is capable of holding greater amounts of lithium, compared with common carbon-based materials, but in crystalline form possesses a structure that deteriorates during charging cycles, ultimately impacting performance. However, amorphous SiO is resistant to such deterioration.

Its base structure had been unknown, making it difficult for mass production. However, the new methodology provides an accurate understanding of the amorphous structure of SiO, based on a combination of structural analyses and computer simulations.

The atomic structure of SiO was thought to be inhomogeneous, making its precise atomic arrangements the subject of debate. The new findings show that its structure allows the storage of a larger number of Li ions, in turn leading to better battery performance.

“The invention of this new analysis method is essential to further develop the next generation of high-capacity lithium-ion batteries. It will certainly become one of our core technologies. The utilization of this analysis method in our future R&D will surely contribute to extending the cruising range of future zero-emission vehicles,” said Takao Asami, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and President of Nissan Arc Ltd.

Daniele Schillaci, executive vice president of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Global Sales & Marketing including Zero Emission Vehicle and Battery business, said the development was another proof point of Nissan’s commitment to innovation in advanced technologies.

“Nissan is exploring a wide range of energy sources for tomorrow’s vehicles, and we recognize our role in continuously investing in multiple technologies and intelligent mobility,” said Schillaci.

More: Nature Communications

Are Friction Brakes Redundant on Electric Vehicles & Hybrids?

The Toyota Prius, the world's first mass-produced hybrid vehicle, went on sale in Japan in 1997. 18 years later with sales surpassing 8 million vehicles, we're starting to get a clear picture of how durable vehicles powered by electric powertrains are.

The humble Prius has proved so durable, with regular news of taxi operators surpassing 1 million km (the record stands at 1.5M km), there is even a thread on the priuschat website designated for Prius owners who have passed 299,999 miles (480,000 km).

Not only are most Prius achieving these distances on the original battery pack (dispelling that urban myth) but in many cases they are also still on the original factory fitted set of brake pads!! With a Prius able to use brake regeneration down to 10 km/h, industry standard hydro-mechanical friction brakes move from being a system made up of consumable parts to being a durable system that last the life of the vehicle.

Typical brake pad life expectancy on an ICE car is between 50-100,000 km with brake rotors needing replacement every 100-200,000 km so the increase in Prius pad life is in the 10x region.

If the relatively low powered 50 kw electric motor / generator in the Prius has made friction brakes 95% redundant, then vehicles like the BMW i3 with a much more powerful electric motor (125 kw) and aggressive speed variable brake regeneration capable of bringing the car to a complete stop, make friction brakes entirely a legacy system whose only function is to provide very low duty cycle safety functions such as Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).

Taxi operators running fleets of Nissan Leaf are also reporting high mileage on original brake pads and no doubt given enough time will also pass 500,000 km without a pad &/or rotor change. Leaf owners have the added benefit of not having an ICE to service (Prius ICE's reportedly consume excessive oil above 500,000 km) and with typical electric motor life measured in the 20-40,000 hour range, electric only powertrains could last in excess of 2 million kilometres of trouble free motoring, compared to a typical ICE car life expectancy of 320,000 km (200,000 miles).

The more brake regeneration becomes a standard in the automotive world, the more inevitable the elimination of the dead weight and costs associated with legacy friction brake systems seems. In order to allow electromagnetic braking to functionally replace all mandatory safety systems like ESC, each wheel requires an electric motor to drive / brake each wheel independently.

Technologies that we take for granted these days — like stability control and anti-lock brakes — paved the way for computer-controlled cars, and these long-established safety technologies are mandated by NHTSA etc. Automakers today agreed to make automatic emergency braking standard in US by 2022. Automatic braking, like lane keeping and dynamic cruise control, is considered a precursor to fully autonomous vehicles.

The convergence of vehicle electrification and self-driving cars will accelerate the need to consolidate all vehicle dynamic controls for propulsion and braking within a single system, i.e. Software Eats the Automotive Powertrain.

Tesla Model S is the Fastest Selling Electric Vehicle in NSW

Nissan is celebrating 5 years of the LEAF and Tesla Australia is celebrating 1 year in Australia. With the upcoming New year I thought it would be good to look back at the history of electric vehicles in NSW.


Lets look at growth in NSW Tesla don’t share their data with VFACTS, the industry body for new car sales reporting but RMS/RTA do keep registration statistics on how many cars of a particular brand are sold and what type of fuel they use. Using those statistics we can look at how many “pure electric” vehicles are on the road in NSW. The first production EV was the Mitsubishi i-MiEV launched in 2010 before then the 44 or so vehicles registered as electric with the RTA/RMS where most likely conversions.

What’s included in this count? RMS count petrol/electrics separately so this count doesn’t include plug-in hybrids like the Outlander PHEV, Holden Volt or BMW i3 Rex. What it does include is listed below with their official release dates.

Release Dates :

  • 2010 August Mitsubishi i-MiEV (Limited selective client release)
  • 2011 August Mitsubishi i-MiEV (source: MMAL Press release )
  • 2012 June Nissan LEAF (source: Nissan Press release )
  • 2014 December BMW i3 (excluding the REX hybrid version)
  • 2014 December Tesla Model S (The amount of registered Tesla’s is shown in red)


    If we look at registrations since 3rd Quarter 2011 when electric vehicles began sales to the general public we see 524 registrations to date at a rate of 33 vehicles per quarter. Breaking it down further we see three district rates of registrations:

  • 2009-2011 – 7.8 Registrations per quarter.
  • 2012-2013 – 28.5 Registrations per quarter.
  • 2014 Q1-Q3 – 5.3 Registrations per quarter.
  • 2014 Q3-2015 Q3 – 66.5 Registrations per quarter.

    With the release of Tesla Model S we see Tesla alone contribute 52.5 Registrations per quarter, all other makes and models only managing 14 per quarter since 2014. The best performing quarter is the fourth quarter of 2014 with 87 registrations 65 Tesla 22 others. The worst performing quarter since the release of the i-MiEV first quarter of 2014 with only 4.


    Tesla has landed on our shores and has been welcomed with open arms with the fastest “selling” electric vehicle in NSW. Nissan/Mitsubishi was a steady seller until 2014. However Nissan have not released an updated model since 2012 in Australia, maybe it’s time for a new model LEAF that sell overseas. Mitsubishi also no longer have i-MiEV at dealerships, concentrating their efforts on the Outlander PHEV.

    In terms of charging standards we’ve seen Tesla enter with their own version of a type 2 socket which is Mennekes type 2 compatible. Where as everyone else has been type 1 J1772 it’s a bit hard to gauge a direction while 30% of pure electric vehicles are Tesla we don’t have accurate numbers for other type 1 J1772 plug-in vehicles like the Holden volt, Audi a3 e-tron Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, BMW i3 REX, BMW i8 and the hybrid offerings from Porsche.

    Over the last year we’ve seen a significant growth in electric vehicles, installing a type 2 socket universal charging station to suit all vehicles at your office, shop, restaurant, church or sports field will further enhance the growth of electric vehicles.

    Source: Recharging NSW

    reproduced with permission

  • Nissan IDS Concept: Autonomous 60 kWh Next Gen LEAF [VIDEO]

    Today at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. unveiled a concept vehicle that embodies Nissan's vision of the future of autonomous driving and zero emission EVs: the Nissan IDS Concept.

    Presenting at the show, Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: "Nissan's forthcoming technologies will revolutionize the relationship between car and driver, and future mobility."

    After leading the development and expansion of EV technology, Nissan once again stands at the forefront of automotive technology. By integrating advanced vehicle control and safety technologies with cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI), Nissan is among the leaders developing practical, real-world applications of autonomous drive technology.

    In August 2013, Ghosn said that by 2020 Nissan plans to equip innovative autonomous drive technology on multiple vehicles. Progress is well on track to achieve this goal.

    Nissan Intelligent Driving is Nissan's concept of autonomous drive technology and represents what Nissan believes next-generation vehicles should be. "Nissan Intelligent Driving improves a driver's ability to see, think and react. It compensates for human error, which causes more than 90 percent of all car accidents. As a result, time spent behind the wheel is safer, cleaner, more efficient and more fun," continued Ghosn.

    By 202X, expect to see Nissan Intelligent Driving technology deployed on cars in cities around the world.

    The Nissan IDS experience

    Some have compared a future with autonomous drive to living in a world of conveyer belts that simply ferry people from point A to B, but the Nissan IDS Concept promises a very different vision of tomorrow. Even when the driver selects Piloted Drive and turns over driving to the vehicle, the car's performance — from accelerating to braking to cornering — imitates the driver's own style and preferences.

    In Manual Drive mode, the driver has control. The linear acceleration and cornering are pure and exhilarating. Yet behind the scenes, the Nissan IDS Concept continues to provide assistance. Sensors continually monitor conditions and assistance is available even while the driver is in control. In the event of imminent danger, Nissan IDS Concept will assist the driver in taking evasive action.

    In addition to learning, the Nissan IDS Concept's AI communicates like an attentive partner. From information concerning traffic conditions, the driver's schedule to personal interests, Nissan IDS Concept's AI has what is needed to help create a driving experience that is comfortable, enjoyable and safe.

    Design — Together, we ride

    "A key point behind the Nissan IDS Concept is communication. For autonomous drive to become reality, as a society we have to consider not only communication between car and driver but also between cars and people. The Nissan IDS Concept's design embodies Nissan's vision of autonomous drive as expressed in the phrase together, we ride," says Mitsunori Morita, Design Director.

    Two interiors enable two ways for the driver to enjoy the experience. Together, we ride is clearly demonstrated in the interior design. "The Nissan IDS Concept has different interiors depending on whether the driver opts for Piloted Drive or Manual Drive. This was something that we thought was absolutely necessary to express our idea of autonomous drive," says Morita.

    Even though it is a hatchback, the Nissan IDS Concept's long wheelbase enables comfortable seating space for four adults. But the cabin becomes even more spacious when the driver selects Piloted Drive. In this mode, the steering wheel recedes into the center of the instrument panel and a large flat screen comes out. Various driving-related operations are handled by AI, voice and gestures from the driver. The interior, which is comprised of natural materials such as mesh leather, is illuminated by soft light. All four seats rotate slightly inward, facilitating easier conversation. It's like relaxing in a living room.

    When the driver selects Manual Drive, the roomy interior transforms to put the driver in control. All seats face forward. The steering wheel, which takes styling cues from reins for horse riding, appears along with driving meters and a heads-up display that shows route and other driving information. Interior lighting switches to blue, stimulating the ability to concentrate. Nissan's use of hollow-structure A-pillars helps ensure excellent visibility by reducing blind spots and also contributes to the feeling of open space.

    "In every situation, it is about giving the driver more choices and greater control. And the driver will remain the focus of our technology development efforts," Ghosn said at the show.

    The transformation to Manual Drive can be carried out with ease through a switch between the front seats called the PD Commander. This is the only control the driver can physically operate when the car is in Piloted Drive: when the driver is ready to take over driving, a physical action should initiate the change.

    Exterior design

    For autonomous drive to be widely accepted, people need to fully trust the technology. Through its innovative communication capabilities, the Nissan IDS Concept promotes confidence and a sense of harmony for those outside the car as well. Various exterior lights and displays convey to pedestrians and others the car's awareness of its surroundings and signals its intentions. The car's side body line, for example, is actually an LED that Nissan calls the Intention Indicator. When pedestrians or cyclists are nearby, the strip shines white, signaling that the car is aware of them. Another electronic display, which faces outside from the instrument panel, can flash messages such as "After you" to pedestrians. This natural, harmonious system of communication signals a new future with cars.

    Advanced aerodynamic performance for greater driving range

    Design Director Mitsunori Morita says: "By the time Nissan Intelligent Driving technology is available on production cars, EVs will be able to go great distances on a single charge. Getting to this point will, of course, require the further evolution of batteries, but aerodynamic performance is also very important. We incorporated our most advanced aerodynamic technology in the design of the Nissan IDS Concept."

    The height of the full carbon fiber body was constrained to 1,380 mm, sharply minimizing aerodynamic drag (Cd). Positioning the tires close to the corners of the body maximizes interior space while enabling a wrap-around cabin design. Nissan selected large-diameter wheels for high-performance and sportiness, but used very thin 175-size tires to minimize air and roll resistance. The wheels have a layered design suggestive of thin fins that create tiny vortexes of air flow on the wheel's surface. This design further contributes to smooth air flow.

    The icicle pattern on the Nissan IDS Concept's grille symbolizes a pure and clean design — perfect for an EV. Shaped like a stack of ice blocks, the grille pattern appears transparent. The car's bluish satin silver body color heightens the impression of a comfortable and secure cabin space.

    Highly evolved EV technology for long-distance driving

    At Nissan's annual shareholders meeting in June, Executive Vice President Hideyuki Sakamoto said: "Our zero emission strategy centers on EVs. We are pursuing improved electric powertrain technologies, such as motors, batteries and inverters, which will enable us to mass produce and market EVs that equal or surpass the convenience of gasoline-powered cars."

    The Nissan IDS Concept is fitted with a high-capacity 60 kWh battery, and thanks to its outstanding aerodynamics, low stance, flowing form and reduced weight due to its full-carbon-fiber body, the vehicle is designed to also meet the need to drive long distances. Other technologies on the Nissan IDS Concept include Piloted Park that can be operated by smartphone or tablet, and wireless charging technologies. Through these, the driver can leave parking and charging to the car.

    Nissan's targets — Zero traffic fatalities and zero emissions

    In order for our car-based society to be sustainable, complex issues ranging from sustainable energy supplies to climate change, air pollution and traffic safety must be addressed. At Nissan, we have set zero fatalities and zero emissions as aspirational targets in our mission to help create a sustainable car-based society.

    Over 90 percent of traffic accidents are caused by human error. Nissan IDS Concept's extensive system of sensors and AI are designed to provide enhanced safety performance compared to a human driver. This technology brings us a step closer to the goal of zero traffic fatalities.

    EVs produce no CO2 emissions and their batteries can store energy from renewable sources and turn it into electricity for homes and buildings. As the number of EVs increases, entire communities will be able to harness their power as part of a sustainable energy plan. Then, as EVs come to play a central role in energy supply, we will come that much closer to becoming a zero emission society.

    Nissan believes that the Nissan IDS Concept will evolve into a leading innovation for next generation mobility and our quest for making these "two zeroes" a reality.

    Featuring Nissan's most advanced safety, driving-control and EV technology — all taken to a new level by AI — the Nissan IDS Concept is a compelling showcase of a promising future.

    2016 Nissan LEAF to get 30 kWh battery and 250 km range

    Nissan is once again transforming the performance, practicality and perception of EVs with the introduction of the LEAF 30 kWh - an updated Nissan LEAF that gives drivers 250 km (155 miles) of motoring range, beating all of its competitors in the segment.

    This remarkable achievement – one that opens up a new world of opportunity for drivers – is made possible thanks to the introduction of a new 30kWh battery. The new battery is the highlight of an update package that will see the 2016MY LEAF 30 kWh reinforce its position as the most capable and practical electric vehicle in the world, and with the best value. The longer range significantly broadens the LEAF’s appeal – making it a true alternative to an internal combustion engine vehicle for thousands of motorists and reinforcing its position as the world’s best electric car.

    Commented Paul Willcox, Chairman, Nissan Europe: “The LEAF, the best-selling EV in the world, just got even better. And up-to 155 miles opens the world of EV to thousands of drivers across Europe who before just weren’t completely confident that an EV would work for them. This extra range will make LEAF ownership an easy first choice, for many, many more drivers.”

    New battery, new technology, same simple usability

    The LEAF’s new 30kWh battery delivers a longer range with no compromise on internal packaging. Available on Acenta and Tekna trim grades, it has exactly the same exterior dimensions as existing 24kWh unit and only a modest 21 kg increase in weight. The result? A car that goes significantly further while offering the same practicality and usability as previous versions.

    Key to the new battery’s higher performance is an update to its internal design and chemistry. The introduction of Carbon, Nitrogen and Magnesium to the electrodes improves performance, while the change to the cell layout also contributes to the gain. Indeed, Nissan is so confident about the performance and reliability of the new 30kWh battery that the capacity will be covered by an eight year, 100,000 mile warranty.

    Recharging the LEAF’s new 30kWh battery is as easy and stress-free as it is with the current 24kWh unit. Just as with the current LEAF, customers will be able to recharge from their homes, from public chargers, or from the network of rapid chargers (3 phase, 400V) expanding across European – the best EV network available. In the UK there are approximately 500 LEAF-compatible rapid chargers, covering more than 95% of the UK’s motorway network.

    New IT technology gives owners even greater control

    One of the LEAF’s most celebrated and useful features is its ability to interact with and be controlled remotely by its owner via NissanConnect EV. From being able to check charge status to pre-heating the cabin on cold winter days, owners across the world have used this advanced smartphone-enabled telematics facility to make life even easier. NissanConnect EV not only brings greater comfort but also improves driving range, thanks to the ability to pre-heat or pre-cool the cabin without using battery energy.

    The LEAF 30 kWh introduces a significant update to this unique technology with a new NissanConnect EV system that replaces the previous Carwings setup. It retains all the acclaimed elements of the original system, but adds new features, a much-simplified activation process and a new design.

    One of the many advances of the new NissanConnect EV system is the new charging map that is capable of showing which charging points are available and which are being used. Designed to offer seamless integration with the new-generation NissanConnect EV infotainment system, it also features a completely revised navigation system, maintenance alerts and a car-finder facility.

    LEAF 30 kWh – the world’s favourite EV made even better

    All Acenta and Tekna 2016MY LEAF models are equipped with the latest evolution of the brand’s acclaimed NissanConnect EV infotainment system. Featuring a new interface and digital radio receiver, it also offers a capacitive 7-inch touchscreen that allows owners to zoom in and out of maps and flick between menus just by moving their fingers on the screen.

    The LEAF 30 kWh also introduces a number of subtle exterior design changes – including a new roof-mounted aerial along with the availability of a new colour – Bronze.

    Full pricing

    Sales of the model year 2016 Nissan LEAF 30kW will begin in the UK in December 2015. Priced from £24,490 for the Acenta trim, the LEAF 30kW is available for just £1,600 more than the equivalent LEAF with a 24kW battery.

    Nissan to Address KERS Issues Before Returning to WEC

    Nissan today announced that it will delay its return to the LM P1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship and instead focus on technical issues that challenged its race team during the Le Mans 24 Hours.

    Issues with the energy recovery system (ERS) meant that Nissan had to run at the Le Mans 24 Hours on engine power alone. The bespoke Nissan V6 3-litre twin turbo petrol engine and the unique aerodynamics of the GT-R LM NISMO proved to be the main strengths of the car at Le Mans but without a fully working ERS, many of the car's other systems were compromised.

    "We know people will be disappointed but be assured that nobody is more disappointed than us," said Shoichi Miyatani, President of NISMO. "We are racers and we want to compete but we also want to be competitive. That is why we have chosen to continue our test programme and prepare the GT-R LM NISMO for the strong competition we face in the World Endurance Championship. When you innovate you don't give up at the first hurdle. We are committed to overcoming this challenge."

    This news only affects Nissan's LM P1 programme. The manufacturer's global motorsport programmes continue unabated as Nissan strives to add to its tally of victories in the Blancpain Endurance Series, Super GT and the many other championships it competes in. Nissan's pioneering GT Academy programme is now entering the ‘Race Camp' phase where the first of the 2015 graduates will be chosen before going on to compete as NISMO Athletes all over the world.

    "We've said it before but innovation hurts," said Darren Cox, Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO. "We've built an LM P1 car that is very different to other racing cars as we continue to drive motorsport innovation. The beauty of this programme is that people have got behind us and they are willing us to succeed. This has shown us once again that people want something different in motorsport and that gives us increased motivation to make our LM P1 car competitive."

    Nissan will continue the test programme for the GT-R LM NISMO, predominantly but not exclusively in the United States. Media updates will be issued as the car's development continues. A decision on the date for Nissan's return to the World Endurance Championship will be made in due course, depending on the progress of the test programme.

    Nissan Leaf to get 200 km range by August

    Nissan plans a midcycle update as early as August that aims to deliver a big increase in the Leaf's driving range.

    The improvements will come from increasing the battery capacity from the current 24-kilowatt-hour power pack to 30 kWh. The increase will boost range to 200 km (125 miles).

    CEO Carlos Ghosn outlined future EV steps at the company's annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, June 23. Nissan is developing a lighter, thinner, cheaper battery to enable driving ranges comparable with gasoline vehicles in the "near future," he said.

    Next to him on stage, Nissan displayed a Leaf equipped with a prototype next-generation electric drivetrain. That technology, which is under development and being tested, achieves a range of more than 500 kilometers (310 miles).

    Ghosn said the goal of the next-generation battery is to eliminate range anxiety by providing enough cushion for people to complete their daily drive and "return home with ample charge."

    A video simulation showed the car charging up to a range of more than 310 miles and ending the day with a drivable range of 160 miles still in reserve.

    Yet even before that next-generation battery hits the market, Nissan plans an interim upgrade for its flagship green car. "We will not wait for its completion to move forward," Ghosn said.

    Jay Leno’s Garage – Nissan GT-R LM NISMO [VIDEO]

    Jay Leno has a behind-the-Scenes chat with Chief engineer Zack Eakin about Nissan’s daring new front-engined 1,000 hp Hybrid LM P1 race car.

    Watch Jann Mardenborough, Nissan GT Academy’s Season 3 winner, take it around the test track in Kentucky.

    Nissan Leaf Taxi passes 160,000 km and still on 1st set of brake pads!

    A Nissan LEAF taxi in Cornwall has clocked up its 100,000th mile (160,000 km) since entering service with C&C Taxis in 2013.

    ‘Wizzy’ as it was named by operators at St Austell-based C&C Taxis, hit the milestone in the course of more than 25,000 pure electric paying fares and having been rapid charged over 1,700 times yet retains near full battery health and is still on its first set of brake pads.

    Inspired by Wizzy’s performance, C&C Taxis now operates five further 100% electric Nissan LEAFs and an all-electric Nissan e-NV200 Combi.

    Mark Richards, fleet manager at C&C Taxis, estimates that each vehicle saves the business around £8,500 per year in fuel bills and maintenance costs.

    "When we speak to other taxi operators they often tell us range and battery life are the biggest factors preventing them from considering an electric taxi," he said. "Then, when we tell them Wizzy’s done 100,000 miles and still has full battery health, they’re left speechless.”

    “It’s no exaggeration to say Wizzy has transformed our business. We took a gamble when we bought her but she’ll have paid for herself in just 24 months and the savings we’re now making across the fleet are phenomenal,” he added.

    Infiniti’s Vision GT Hybrid concept [VIDEO]

    Looking virtually identical to the digital model created for Gran Turismo 6, the real world Vision GT concept provides a glimpse at what a "high performance Infiniti could look like in the future.”

    While the company didn't have much to say about the car, it has a naturally aspirated 4.5-litre V8 petrol-electric hybrid system powering the rear wheels and features an aggressive front fascia with a prominent grille that is flanked by slender headlights and sporty air intakes. Moving further back, there's sporty side skirts, carbon fiber trim and massive alloy wheels.

    According to the game maker’s, the Infiniti Concept Vision Gran Turismo’s electric motor delivers “overwhelming torque” in low-speed situations while at higher speeds, the V8 engine teams “immense power”