French automaker Renault and European aerospace manufacturer Airbus have signed a research and development agreement that seeks to improve the energy density of batteries used in EVs and future hybrid-electric aircraft. Ultimately, the two parties aim to achieve a production-ready solid-state battery setup by 2030.
In other words, Renault will benefit from the expertise of Airbus engineers in the fields of very light, very strong materials, and Airbus will tap into Renault Group’s expertise in battery management systems.
“At Renault Group, our 10 years of experience in the electric vehicle value chain gives us some of the strongest feedback from the field and expertise in the performance of battery management systems. Driven by the same ambition to innovate and reduce the carbon footprint, our engineering teams are exchanging with those of Airbus to converge transversal technologies that will enable both hybrid aircraft to be operated and the vehicles of tomorrow to be developed,” said Gilles Le Borgne, EVP, Engineering, Renault Group.
Both the carmaker and aerospace manufacturer set a goal to have net-zero emissions by 2050, and this agreement should accelerate the development of new technologies that will allow them to reach their goal.
Gallery: Solid Power Batteries
Research into solid-state batteries still has a long way to go before it becomes a viable option for mass-market vehicles, but there are already some pioneers in this field. Samsung is building a brand new facility just for this purpose, Solid Power already has an automated pilot production line for solid-state batteries, and Nissan is producing prototypes of its laminated cells in Japan, which will eventually end up in a production EV by 2028.
One of the main advantages of all-solid-state batteries over lithium-ion batteries is that they can store more energy in the same footprint. For example, Renault’s current Megane E-Tech EV can be ordered with a 60kWh battery pack which gives the crossover a maximum range of 280 miles. With a solid-state battery of the same physical dimensions, it could be possible to double the range without affecting weight.
Another plus of solid-state batteries is their ability to charge faster than Li-ion batteries because they’re much more stable at high temperatures, reducing the risk of fires.