At a recently-held advanced technology briefing, Nissan showed off its "Battery Lab" used for developing lithium ion batteries for electric and hybrid cars. This research facility is used to create different electrode formulations, as well as battery prototyping and testing. With all the battery improvement and electric car promises Nissan has been making, this is likely a very busy, very important place.
It is here that electrode materials are mixed and pressed onto aluminum sheets along with active materials, conducting aids and binders. The cells have different properties depending on the types and proportions of materials used. Nissan is working with lithium manganate as a positive electrode material as well as iron formulations. The challenge for battery makers is slightly different depending upon the application. For hybrids, scientists need the battery to be able to put out a lot of power, while for an all-electric vehicle, the amount of energy density is more important. They seem to be making some solid gains too. Nissan claims a power density of 2,500W/kg (English translation; lots of power) for a hybrid vehicle battery while its energy densities for an all-electric car battery have reached 140Wh/kg.
[More at Autobloggreen]