Source : Getty Images
Tesla’s new 4680 battery format promises another breakthrough in electric vehicle capabilities, but it’s not yet ready for full-scale production. Additionally, although it promises greater range at a lower cost, Tesla’s new cell design still fails to address one of the main criticisms of battery-electric vehicles, which is the time it takes to ” fill up “. Israeli company StoreDot believes it has the answer and has developed a prototype 4680 cell to prove it. Charging to 100% only takes 10 minutes.
There are many companies interested in different aspects of the battery business, which is understandable given how quickly this market is already developing and the exponential growth it is expected to experience over the next decade. StoreDot chose to focus on the problem of “breakdown anxiety”, which largely revolves around this question of the time it takes to recharge the batteries of an electric vehicle.
Many articles written by internal combustion engine enthusiasts compare the five-minute “fueling” of their preferred vehicle type to the much longer time it takes to recharge the batteries in today’s electric cars. The situation has improved over the years, but even with the fastest chargers in 250 kW or 350 kW and the most optimized vehicles, such as the Tesla Model 3 and the Porsche Taycan, sometimes it takes 30 minutes or more to recharge to 80% capacity – and much longer to reach 100%. This also has repercussions on the health of the batteries. Repeated fast charging with direct current, especially up to 100% of capacity, can have detrimental effects on the longevity of a lithium-ion battery.
Part of the key to this problem lies in the design of the battery chemistry, and in particular the anodes. Conventional lithium-ion batteries use graphite-dominant anodes, which have been one of the technologies to achieve current energy densities. But they can impose limits on charging speeds as well as the battery life cycle. One solution to these problems is to replace the anode with a material predominantly silicon. This allows the battery to take energy much faster without damaging the cells.
In association with its manufacturing partner EVE Energy in China and the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, StoreDot created these prototypes of cells with silicon-dominant chemistry in the 4680 format that can be charged to 100% in just 10 minutes. ‘Refueling’ a battery-electric vehicle would thus take about the same time as that of an internal combustion vehicle and would solve one of the problems that currently make some people think that hydrogen might be a better solution. (despite its many other drawbacks). Imagine arriving at a charging point in your Tesla Model S Plaid and leaving 10 minutes later with a range of 600 km again available. There would be no obstacle to traveling very long distances.
StoreDot’s demonstration of a 4680-format battery capable of recharging in 10 minutes shows what the future may hold for electric vehicles
According to StoreDot, the chemistry of the silicon-dominant batteries would also allow a greater energy density of the batteries. Tesla’s current 2170 cells, in the form of the Panasonic 6752 units supplied in cars Tesla Model 3 manufactured in the United States, have an energy density of 260 Wh / kg. StoreDot claims its silicon-dominant battery chemistry will achieve 400-450 Wh / kg, which could mean nearly doubling the range for the same weight. In other words, a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus could have a range of 770 km instead of the current 447 km, and the Long Range version could last well over 965 km, which is more than many internal combustion cars with. a full tank of fuel.
However, having battery chemistry that can charge faster doesn’t automatically make this possible. StoreDot also recently filed a patent for the optimization of fast charging, which she hopes will help alleviate the problem of charging time even without the new battery chemistry. This technology is designed to work with existing graphite battery technology as well as with silicon-dominant batteries, requiring a small piece of hardware in the charger and / or car, as well as software in the battery management system. car battery. This “booster” technology, initially called FlashBattery and now under the XFC brand, is made available to all manufacturers and a number of them are already working with StoreDot to implement it, including Daimler.
This will allow cars to make better use of the 350 kW chargers that are starting to arrive, such as the IONITY network in Europe. Of course, to charge a 100 kWh battery in 10 minutes, it would take more than that – 600 kW – which currently does not exist on any public charging network. So there will be further infrastructure changes that will need to be made to achieve the extreme fast charging capability of StoreDot. But XFC can help optimize what we already have, potentially reducing charge times by 50% with existing battery chemistries.
But this is only the beginning. StoreDot’s demonstration of a 4680-format battery capable of recharging in 10 minutes shows what the future may hold for electric vehicles, and soon. The company says the production volume of its 4680 cells could arrive in 2024. With the density capabilities promised, that could mean that in a few years we will have electric cars capable of adding 965 km of range in 10 minutes. charge, which would make fossil fuel cars obsolete in almost every respect.
Article translated from Forbes US – Author: James Morris
<<< Also read: How this company beat Tesla with the world's first autonomous electric truck >>>