|How Innovative Packaging Improves Electric Vehicle Battery Performance|
As we wait to see if solid-state batteries or another major chemical breakthrough for electric vehicles finally emerges, keep a close eye on how battery manufacturers package today’s batteries.
“That’s where the real breakthroughs come from” in electric vehicle battery performance, Conrad Layson, principal alternative propulsion analyst at AutoForecast Solutions LLC, told me.
In this week Automotive Newswe look at the challenges the industry faces in finding this breakthrough in battery technology.
From a chemical point of view, the development of lithium-ion batteries has more or less reached a plateau. But the industry doesn’t need to rely on chemical breakthroughs alone to see marked improvements in battery performance. Innovative methods of battery cell packaging can also result in higher ranges, faster charge times or lower production costs.
Tesla’s 4680 battery is one of the most prominent examples, with its cylindrical design allowing for longer range and cheaper production. Similarly, Chinese automaker BYD’s lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) Blade battery has caught the eye of other automakers, such as Toyota. The battery is less bulky than a traditional LFP battery and achieves higher energy density due to its design.
The industry is always looking for solid state batteries or other promising battery chemistries, and for good reason. A major breakthrough that drastically reduces charging times while greatly increasing range would alleviate many consumers’ concerns about electric vehicles and spur electrification efforts around the world.
But even with unprecedented amounts of money being poured into battery research, it will take time to materialize. How long is impossible to know. In the meantime, however, improving current battery performance at the margin through innovative packaging designs or other means should still yield positive results – and make electric vehicles even more attractive to consumers. .
— John Irvin