The future of electric vehicle batteries: What’s on the horizon?
As you may have learned from previous articles, the electric vehicle battery is arguably the most expensive part of an EV. Although the price of the EV battery has dropped significantly with the use of the ever-popular lithium-ion batteries and steadily increasing production volumes, you can look forward to further drops in prices as EV battery designs are improved and cheaper materials are used in their manufacture.
In this article, we shall take a look at the future of EV battery technology. What are the latest types of EV batteries that you can look forward to in 2023 and beyond?
EV battery trends to look forward to
A key challenge with EV battery cells lies in the fact that it utilizes certain materials that are not only expensive, but are also non-sustainable. A good example would be cobalt, which can only be mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo. While we can see relatively little change in the EV battery design in the future, the main concern of EV battery manufacturing is the use of materials that are not only cheaper, but are also sustainable for the long term.
Here are the EV batteries trends you can look forward to.
Batteries with Reduced Cobalt Content
At present, there are two types of lithium-ion batteries with greatly reduced cobalt content that are already in the market. The first is General Motors’ Ultium NMCA which utilizes 70 percent less cobalt. Instead, this battery type has a greater proportion of nickel and aluminum.
The second is Lithium-Iron Phosphate (LiFP) batteries currently being used in the low-end Tesla Model 3. The cathodes in these batteries are made from lithium-iron phosphate, which are much cheaper and contain minerals that are abundant from natural resources. A solid plus for LiFP is that they are less prone to fires compared to lithium-ion batteries.
Unlike the batteries mentioned above that still contain a little cobalt, the researchers at Chinese company SVOLT want to do away with this mineral entirely. The result is the NMX battery available in 115 Ah and 226 Ah. This battery does not have cobalt in its cathodes. Instead, the cathode consists of 89 percent nickel, with aluminum and manganese. The NMX battery boasts of a higher energy density with a range of 500 miles on a single charge.
Much of the focus of battery research is on the development of solid-state cells. These battery cells have a solid, instead of liquid, electrolyte. The result is that you have a more stable battery with a larger storage capacity and faster charging time. A good example of a solid-state battery that is being developed is the one from Toyota, which utilizes sulfide superionic conductors that operates at super capacitor levels with a charging time of just 7 minutes.
Carbon Nanotube Electrodes
Available next year 2023 is the carbon nanotube battery. This battery boasts of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes that can boost battery power 10 times compared to other battery packs. In addition, it has three times energy storage and five times increase in the battery lifecycle. This battery can be charged to up to 80 percent in just 5 minutes.
Batteries made from Sand
Also currently under development are batteries which utilize pure silicon that is obtained from sand, one of the most plentiful substances available. This battery has three times improved performance in comparison with current graphite-containing lithium-ion batteries.
Silicon Anode Batteries
The silicon anode battery that is being developed by the University of Eastern Finland is a hybrid anode, which consists of mesoporous silicon microparticles and carbon nanotubes. Much like the sand battery mentioned above, researchers plan on replacing graphite as the anode with silicon. The battery has 10 times capacity with greatly improved battery performance. This battery is more sustainable since the silicon is being sourced from barley husk ash.
Ryden Dual Carbon Tech Batteries
Being developed by Power Japan Plus, the Ryden Dual Carbon Tech Batteries are built for durability and faster charging compared with lithium-ion batteries. These batteries can already be manufactured by factories that are already making lithium-ion batteries. In addition, the Ryden Dual Carbon Tech battery promises greater sustainability, is environment-friendly, and boasts a faster charging time by up to 20 times that of conventional batteries.
Zinc-Air batteries are presently under development at Sydney University. The appeal of zinc-air batteries is that they are temperature-stable and are not as fire-prone compared with lithium-ion batteries. However, the components of this battery are expensive, so researchers are looking into cheaper alternatives.
Aluminum-air batteries utilize oxygen obtained from air to fill the cathode. The end result is a battery that is much lighter because it doesn’t contain a liquid electrolyte like lithium-ion batteries. It also promises a much greater driving range. A recent test conducted on an experimental car resulted in a driving range of 1,000 miles on a single charge.
Developed by the company Graphenano, graphene batteries have 33 times faster charging and depletion time than lithium-ion batteries. It has a driving range of 500 miles and faster recharging time lasting just a few minutes.
If you are looking for a battery that will never die, then you should look forward to nanowire batteries. These batteries contain gold nanowires that are a thousand times thinner than a human hair. These nanowires are laid on an electrolyte gel to prevent degradation during recharging. Still in the experimental stage, a recent test demonstrated the battery being recharged 200,000 times in a three-month period but showed no signs of degradation.
Promoting sustainability in EV batteries
As can be seen in the battery trends mentioned above, sustainability in an EV battery is being promoted with the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly materials. A future advantage is the elimination of cobalt, which is a toxic mineral, while manufacturing EV batteries.
Other researchers are looking into sustainable EV battery materials, including sand and oxygen from air. These same researchers have predicted that future EV battery technology will come sooner than expected between the years 2023 to 2030.
How Interplex is reshaping the future of EV batteries
Interplex, a customized interconnect solution provider, is at the forefront of enhancing future EV battery technology with their portfolio of interconnect solutions for EV batteries. One such interconnect technology is the Cell-PLX™ current collector system, which promises higher energy densities and current flow stability and greater energy storage. At present, the Cell-PLX™ is being utilized with battery modules containing cylindrical and prismatic cells.
You can get more information about Interplex’s battery interconnect solutions by visiting their website at www.interplex.com.