Where’s the next EV battery breakthrough coming from?
There’s plenty of battery tech gearing up to disrupt lithium-ion’s market dominance, they say.
Except there isn’t, because bringing a proven technology to market at scale is actually pretty hard.
Solid-state battery technology is the most well-known alternative, but it’s still unproven in the real world. Others, like the high density lithium-sulfur and lithium-air technologies probably won’t be available for at least a decade.
So it’s easy to be sceptical of Innolith.
In April, the Swiss start-up unveiled a EV battery which is non-flammable, super high density, and super low cost.
That pretty much addresses all main issues with lithium-ion batteries and EVs more generally; people just want to be able to drive their affordable, not-on-fire EV further between each charge.
Innolith is proud to announce this morning that we are developing the world’s first battery capable of powering an Electric Vehicle (EV) for over 1000km on a single charge. It’s clean, safe and less expensive than existing Li-ion battery technologies.https://t.co/UX9kI0Wf9K
— Innolith (@innolith) April 4, 2019
“We made a breakthrough invention about 18 months ago, to allow us to create a battery with 1000 watt-hours per kilogram energy density and bring the price level to $US50 per kWh,” Markus Borck, chief engineer at Innolith told BloombergNEF in a recent interview.
“In comparison, the Tesla battery is 280wh/kg and the practical limit for lithium-ion is in the range of 350 to 400wh/kg.”
That’s three times the energy density of a Tesla battery, and far cheaper than the cost of commercially-available lithium-ion batteries (between $US150 and $US400 per kWh).
But this isn’t a solid-state technology, which is still stuck in the early R&D phase. Innolith is using a new non-flammable electrolyte.
“Fundamentally, our cell design is the same as lithium-ion, it’s just a set of different materials that is required for inside the cell,” Borck says.
“But in principal, it uses the same anode, cathode, electrolyte separator and housing.”
Importantly, it says, manufacturing processes “are no more complex than those of conventional batteries”.
A prototype is already working in the lab. Innolith is now looking to “partner with a larger company to secure its place in the market” and deliver its EV battery in the next four to five years.