Ev battery technology advances. The Latest EV Battery Breakthrough

EV Batteries Just Keep Getting Better Better

Scientists at the Energy Department’s Brookhaven National Laboratory are unlocking the secrets of lighter, less expensive, more energy dense and just all-around better EV batteries.

The sun is slowly setting on the Age of the Gasmobile, and taxpayers all throughout the US can give themselves a group hug for that. The US Department of Energy has been pumping millions of RD dollars into new technologies that are making EV batteries charge faster and last longer, while also improving safety. In the latest development, Energy Department scientists are zeroing in on a critical component that could double the energy density of today’s lithium-ion EV batteries.

Your Tax Dollars At Work: Better EV Batteries

The new breakthrough comes under the umbrella of the Energy Department’s Battery500 Consortium, a sprawling Obama-era, public-private energy storage initiative spearheaded by the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The consortium launched in 2016 with a 50 million, five-year mission to improve the performance and reduce the cost of EV batteries, which topped 500 per kilowatt-hour in 2012. The primary FOCUS is lithium-metal technology, in which lithium replaces the graphite that is commonly used to engineer EV batteries. Lithium-metal batteries also deploy a solid state electrolyte instead of the conventional liquid formula.

“The Battery500 Consortium aims to triple the specific energy (to 500 WH/kg) relative to today’s battery technology while achieving 1,000 electric vehicles cycles. This will result in a significantly smaller, lighter weight, less expensive battery pack (below 100/kWh) and more affordable EVs,” the White House explained.

Lithium anodes can produce a higher density, but the challenge is longevity. As of 2021, the consortium had demonstrated 600 cycles, an important milestone but far short of the goal.

Along with PNNL, the original consortium included the Brookhaven and Idaho national laboratories, the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and universities in New York, California, and Texas along with IBM and Tesla (named Tesla Motors at the time).

The Search For A Better EV Battery Continues

So much for Phase I. Last December, the Battery500 consortium was re-upped for another five-year term at 15 million per year. The Energy Department labs and academic partners from Phase I are continuing into Phase 2, but IBM and Tesla have been replaced by General Motors (more on that in a second). Also joining in are additional universities in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.

“Phase 2 will allow us to build on the success of the last five years and provide the leadership necessary for developing the next generation of batteries, which will lead to a North American battery manufacturing and electric vehicle industry,” said M. Stanley Whittingham, who is a distinguished professor of chemistry at Binghamton University in New York State. Professor Whittingham received a Nobel Prize in 2019 for his work on lithium-ion batteries.

For the record, Whittingham’s co-recipient was another leader in the energy storage field, Professor John Goodenough of the University of Texas – Austin, which is also a member of the consortium.

Five emerging battery technologies for electric vehicles

As the 2016 suite of new car models makes evident, electric vehicles are finally gaining real traction in the market. At the turn of the 20th century, more than one quarter of all cars in the United States were electric, yet the electric car had all but vanished by the 1920s. This disappearance was largely due to the insufficient range and power of electric car batteries compared to gasoline engines. Furthermore, electric cars were significantly more expensive than their gasoline counterparts. These same complaints are still heard today, even though battery technology has certainly improved over the last century. Much research and development is being done on battery technology to improve performance while ensuring that batteries are lightweight, compact, and affordable.

So, what are the newest innovations in battery technology, and what do such advances mean for the electric vehicle market?

Solid state batteries

Solid-state batteries have solid components. This construction provides several advantages: no worry of electrolyte leaks or fires (provided a flame-resistant electrolyte is used), extended lifetime, decreased need for bulky and expensive cooling mechanisms, and the ability to operate in an extended temperature range. Solid-state batteries can build off of the improvements made in other types of batteries. For example, Sakti3 is trying to commercialize solid-state, LIBs with funding from General Motors Ventures. Other auto manufacturers, such as Toyota and Volkswagen, are also looking into solid state batteries to power their electric cars.

Aluminum-ion batteries are similar to LIBs but have an aluminum anode. They promise increased safety at a decreased cost over LIBs, but research is still in its infancy. Scientists at Stanford recently solved one of the aluminum-ion battery’s greatest drawbacks, its cyclability, by using an aluminum metal anode and a graphite cathode. This also offers significantly decreased charging time and the ability to bend. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are also working on improving aluminum-ion battery technology.

Lithium-sulfur batteries

Lithium-sulfur batteries (Li/S) typically have a lithium anode and a sulfur-carbon cathode. They offer a higher theoretical energy density and a lower cost than LIBs. Their low cyclability, caused by expansion and harmful reactions with the electrolyte, is the major drawback. However, the cyclability of Li/S batteries has recently been improved. Li/S batteries, combined with solar panels, powered the famous 3-day flight of the Zephyr-6 unmanned aerial vehicle. NASA has invested in solid-state Li/S batteries to power space exploration, and Oxis Energy is also working to commercialize Li/S batteries.

Metal-air batteries have a pure-metal anode and an ambient air cathode. As the cathode typically makes up most of the weight in a battery, having one made of air is a major advantage. There are many possibilities for the metal, but lithium, aluminum, zinc, sodium remain the forerunners. Most experimental work uses oxygen as the cathode to prevent the metal from reacting with CO­2 in the air, because capturing enough oxygen in the ambient air is a major challenge. Furthermore, most metal-air or metal-oxygen prototypes have problems with cyclability and lifetime.

Batteries are often underappreciated when they work as designed, but harshly criticized when they don’t live up to expectations. The technologies highlighted above are by no means an exhaustive list of the developments that have been made. Electric vehicles will undoubtedly become more commonplace as batteries are improved. Advancements in batteries could not only transform the transportation industry, but they could also significantly affect global energy markets. The combination of batteries with renewable energy sources would drastically diminish the need for oil, gas, and coal, thereby altering the foundation of many economic and political norms we currently take for granted. We certainly don’t have to wait until the “perfect battery” is developed to recognize tangible improvements in performance. Despite the current shortcomings of batteries, the potential global impact that even relatively moderate improvements can have is astonishing.

Elsie Bjarnason contributed to this blog post.


Ionblox says it has secured 32 million in a recent Series B funding round. The funds – provided by Lilium, Applied Ventures, Temasek, and Catalus Capital – will help the startup to scale its high-power cells for electric aviation and prototype its fast-charge EV cells.

The batteries are developed with lithium-ion cells that have pre-lithiated silicon dominant anodes. Ionblox said the technology leads to a powerful combination of 50% greater energy density and five times more power over lithium-ion batteries, while enabling fast-charge times of 10 minutes. The cell performance has been verified by Idaho National Laboratory.

A Rapid charge can power 80% of the battery’s capacity in 10 minutes. For a 300-mile vehicle, this means you can charge 240 miles in the time it would take to stop at a normal gas station. Idaho Labs tests of 12 Ah pouch cells confirmed energy density of 315 Wh/kg. The battery can operate 1,000 charge cycles at the C/3 charge rate while retaining nearly 90% of original capacity.

The company said the breakthroughs in battery capability are particularly well-suited for cutting-edge electric aircraft like Vertical Take-off and Landing Aircrafts (eVTOL), where weight must be minimized, and power output maximized. The large-format pouch cells of up to 50 Ah, which also have applications in ground EVs, are currently being built on Ionblox’s pilot production lines.

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“The Ionblox technology enables one of the highest performance cells for eVTOL aircraft existing today,” said Yves Yemsi, chief operating officer at Lilium. Yemsi’s company will work to integrate the new battery tech into its conforming aircraft, the Lilium Jet.

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“Test results to date are showing the technology will deliver not only superior energy and power density for the Lilium Jet at launch but also very good aging performance,” said Yemsi. Lilium said it will support continuous improvement and industrialization of the technology.

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Ryan joined pv magazine in 2021, bringing experience from a top residential solar installer, and a U. S.

Innovations in battery life

Another big concern with EVs, like any other battery-powered device, is their battery life. Even with the latest advances in battery technology, the average EV battery only lasts for a few years in perfect working order and full capacity. After that, the battery starts to degrade and needs to be replaced.

This can be a big financial burden for EV owners, as batteries are expensive to replace. And since EVs are still a relatively new technology, there is no real infrastructure in place to recycle or dispose of old batteries.

But Enovix is also tackling this problem.

The company announced that as part of their three-year Department of Energy grant program, in which they pair a 100% active silicon anode with EV-class cathode materials, their cells were capable of delivering over 1,000 cycles while still retaining 93% of their capacity.

They have also demonstrated that their 3D silicon batteries will have a lifespan of up to 10 years.

That’s significantly more than the lifespan of current EV batteries, and it could make a big difference in the overall cost of ownership for an EV. over, testing has shown that

Enovix batteries suffer minimal capacity loss after six months of use at elevated temperatures.

With shorter charging times and longer battery life, EVs are finally starting to become an attractive option for consumers.

The future for Enovix

Enovix is well on its way to becoming a major player in the EV industry. With their breakthrough battery technology, they are helping make EVs a more viable alternative to traditional cars.

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In the future, we will likely see Enovix batteries powering a wide variety of EVs, from cars to buses to bikes.

The company started as a category leader in the mobile phone market but has proved that its batteries are scalable and can be adapted to many devices and applications. The novel 3D Silicon Lithium-ion is also well-suited for other applications like wearable devices, drones, and now EVs.

As well as revolutionizing the EV market, Enovix technology can also be essential in the renewable energy market, where batteries have often been a show stopper in achieving widespread usage of renewable energies.

The competition for innovation

With environmental concerns on the rise and concerned citizens looking for more eco-friendly alternative modes of transport, electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular.

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The recent sharp increases in gas are another factor that seems to be driving the nail in the coffin of fossil fuel-powered transport, as people look to save money at the pump.

All of these reasons are causing car manufacturers to invest more time and money into the research and development of electric vehicles. And both researchers and tech companies are competing to deliver the most efficient technology to power these new cars and reduce the charge time.

For example, Swiss multinational company ABB has just brought us the Terra 360 modular charger.

This charging station, designed to look very much like a traditional gas fueling station, delivers a range of 100km/ 62miles after a charging time of just 3 minutes. The world’s fastest electric vehicle charging station is capable of powering up to four vehicles at the same time. [3]

As the electric vehicle industry continues to grow, we can expect to see more and more companies competing to provide innovative battery technologies. And with the rise of climate change concerns and the pressing need to find more sustainable energy sources, it’s likely that batteries will play an even more important role in our lives in the years to come.

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