A new method for battery state of charge estimation using a sliding mode observer has been developed. A nonlinear battery dynamic modeling technique is established and design methodology with the sliding mode observer is presented. Contrary to the conventional methods using complicated battery modeling, a simple resistor-capacitor battery model was used in this work. The modeling errors caused by the simple model are compensated by the sliding mode observer. The structure of the sliding mode observer is simple, but it shows robust control property against modeling errors and uncertainties. The convergence of the proposed observer has been proved by the equivalent control method. The performance of the system has been verified by the sequence of urban dynamometer driving schedule test. The test results of the proposed observer system shows robust tracking performance under real driving environments.