The technology used in Renault EVs will inform the electrification of Airbus’s plane fleet
Automotive and aerospace giants aim to use solid-state batteries in their vehicles by the 2030s
Aerospace giant Airbus has partnered with the Renault Group in a move expected to accelerate both companies’ battery research and development efforts.
The collaboration will initially concentrate on improving energy management and reducing weight to hasten the development of Airbus’s hybrid aircraft.
In the long term, the partnership will develop solid-state batteries – claimed to have double the energy density of current lithium ion cells – with a view to introducing this technology in both cars and aeroplanes around 2030.
Currently, the largest battery offered by Renault is the 60kWh nickel-manganese-cobalt pack in the Mégane E-Tech Electric, which gives the crossover a 280-mile range. A solid-state pack with double the energy density (assuming it weighs the same as the existing NMC hardware) could effectively double this to 560 miles.
The lifecycle and end-to-end carbon footprint of these future batteries will also be investigated to prepare the technology for mass production.
Currently, production of solid-state batteries is scarce. US start-up Solid Power, for example, began pilot manufacturing in Colorado earlier this year, but few other projects exist.
Richard Moore, head of strategy for the West Midlands Gigafactory project, told Autocar Business in October: “The last time I looked at [solid-state], it was an improving position. You can demonstrate it as a viable technology. The concept is proven in the automotive industry.
“It’s a proven concept, but not to scale. So you can make one, but can you have one the size of a desk that you’re going to put into a [production car]? Not yet.”
Renault Group engineering executive Gilles Le Borgne said of the Airbus partnership: “Aviation is an extremely demanding field in terms of both safety and energy consumption, and so is the car industry.
“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.”