Electric vehicle (EV) battery makers are gearing up to launch new batteries that have fast-charging applied with higher energy density to boost travel distances.
Panasonic will produce new 21700 batteries that have 5% higher energy density compared to its predecessor at Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory in September. The batteries will be used for the Model 3.
Tesla’s Model S and Model X manufactured in Japan already had the new battery applied since February.
Panasonic is aiming to increase energy density by 20% by 2025. It is planning to launch cobalt-free batteries within the next two to three years.
The Japanese battery giant uses NCA (nickel, cobalt and aluminum) anode materials. How much nickel it uses hasn’t been revealed. To increase energy density of batteries, nickel portion must replace those of cobalt. It is highly likely that nickel accounts for over between 80% and 90% given the energy density increased by 5%, people familiar with the matter said.
Panasonic was getting its anode material supply from Sumitomo Metal Mining, the people said. Samsung SDI also gets its NCA supply from Sumitomo and recently increase nickel portion to over 90%.
Samsung SDI will soon began pass production Gen 5 batteries in Hungary. They will use NCA anode materials and made with the stacking process, which replaces the previous winding process.
LG Chem recently developed a battery that can offer 400 kilometers travel distance with 25 minutes of charging. To achieve fast charging, the design of the cathode must change. Graphite, natural or synthetic, are used to make cathode materials for stability, which has a 370mAh per gram energy density cap.
Using silicon instead can increase density to up to 400mAh per gram and increases charging speed as well. Porsche Taycan, which uses LG’s battery, offers fast charging thanks to this.
According to BNEF, battery packs is expected to be priced at US$156 per kWh. This will drop to US$100 in 2023.