Electric Vehicle Early-Adopters May Get the Short End of the Stick

As EV battery tech advances, early adopters may find themselves feeling a little dated with their batteries of yesteryear. As technology continues to advance, will early-adopters regret their purchases?
Written by Andrew Kidd
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Apr 27, 2022
As electric vehicle battery
technology
improves, could some early adopters of
electric vehicles
feel left behind?
Nissan
recently detailed plans to produce laminated solid-state battery cells with intentions to bring them to market by 2028. As part of its Nissan Ambition 2030 plan, the automaker aims to launch an electric vehicle with solid-state batteries developed in-house by 2028.

Nissan to open pilot plant for solid-state batteries

As previously
reported
, Nissan is looking into opening a pilot plant for solid-state batteries in a move that would greatly reduce the cost of
battery packs
. The automaker announced that it hopes to begin producing the solid-state battery packs by 2024 in what’s initially a test run for the technology.
The automaker confirmed those plans in an announcement to the press, noting that it would establish a pilot production line at its Yokohama Plant in 2024, where it would work out the development and manufacturing process for the battery tech.
As
Kelley Blue Book
reports, solid-state batteries are a game-changer; originally found only in smart phones, pacemakers and other small electronics, solid-state batteries are lighter, hold more charge, are more efficient and much easier to build than standard lithium-ion batteries.

Early adopters left behind?

It’s to be seen yet if this technology will completely revolutionize the EV market and cause other manufacturers to
follow suit
. If so, early adopters of electric vehicles could be left with the bad taste of lithium-ion in their mouths.
Solid-state batteries are safer than lithium-ion batteries; lithium-ion batteries have become well-known for the
devastating fires
that can result when they ignite (at least as far as car insurance companies are concerned). Solid-state batteries are also generally better for the environment, doing away with the need for rare metals like cobalt for more common minerals.
That could mean those who purchase an electric vehicle with lithium-ion batteries could be left with poor resale or trade-in value and a shorter expected battery life, as lithium-ion batteries degrade faster than their solid-state counterparts. That degradation could ultimately hurt electric vehicle ownership unless automakers offer incentives to current owners to buy a new solid-state battery-powered vehicle, or find a way to upgrade existing electric vehicles with lithium-ion batteries.
And as is the current trend in consumer electronics, new technological upgrades are released frequently; imagine dropping a grand on the latest smartphone only to have the manufacturer announce a new one right after. 
Not being on the bleeding edge of the latest tech can be a turnoff for consumers—and it probably wouldn’t be much different for electric car owners.

Not the first, not the last

Nissan definitely isn’t the first automaker to pursue solid-state battery technology. Toyota has long been a proponent of the tech and has previously announced an EV that would be powered by a solid-state battery—enabling it to deliver a range of a whopping 600 miles on a single charge, according to the automaker.
As previously reported, Nissan is hoping to bring the cost of batteries down to $75 per kilowatt-hour by 2028, with future development hitting $65 per kilowatt-hour. For reference, the current industry average sits at $132 per kilowatt-hour.
Time will tell whether this technology will work.
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