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The Startups developing next-generation vehicle batteries.

Europe is currently experiencing a rapid increase in demand for domestic batteries. Driven by the industrial transition towards electrification, including electrification of vehicles. 

Photo by Mike from Pexels
Photo by Mike from Pexels

Uptake of these electric vehicles has been slow as the batteries they use are expensive, bulky, with limited ability to charge up, hold charge, and last longer. 
So it's not a surprise that we all haven't started to use them as a replacement for our fuel dependant vehicles. 
However, following on from announcements this week it appears that this may be about to change. 

Startups and Universities are leading the research into more efficient, safer and more sustainable batteries.
With StoreDot developing a new battery that can charge an electric vehicle in 5 minutes and PennState University Engineers creating an inexpensive battery that can be used to travel 250 miles!

Further details of this and other startups leading the way in battery development are below.

StoreDot, based in Israel, has developed a new generation of lithium-ion battery technology that is capable of recharging an electric vehicle in five minutes. That is the same time it takes to refuel a combustion engine vehicle – eliminating range and charging anxiety associated with electric vehicle adoption.

With BP, EVE energy and Daimler as partners, they have the investment required to help them bring their technology from the lab to the vehicle.

Being the 2020 Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Pioneers Winner, they are recognised as leading the transition to a low-carbon economy by developing cutting-edge renewable energy products, services and software solutions. 

 

PennState University, USA, announced yesterday their development of an inexpensive battery which holds its charge to allow travel to around 250 miles.

The PennState engineers have created a battery that can be used for mass-market electric vehicles, enabling the cost of these electric vehicles to become comparable to combustion engine vehicles.

"The key to long-life and rapid recharging is the battery's ability to quickly heat up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, for charge and discharge, and then cool down when the battery is not working."
"The very fast charge allows us to downsize the battery without incurring range anxiety," said Chao-Yang Wang, William E. Diefenderfer Chair of mechanical engineering, and director of the Electrochemical Engine Center at Penn State.

"This battery has reduced weight, volume and cost," said Wang. "I am very happy that we finally found a battery that will benefit the mainstream consumer mass market."

In 2017, Swedish-based Northvolt announced a bold and simple plan: develop the world’s greenest battery cell and establish one of Europe’s largest battery factories.

With influential partners, they are working towards this goal.

Volkswagen is investing around $1 billion (€900 million) in joint battery activities with Northvolt. With them planning to set up a 50/50 joint venture to establish a battery cell factory in Germany.

Back in mid-2020, they partnered with Hydro to create Hydro Volt – a joint venture to establish an electric vehicle battery recycling facility in Norway in 2021. Their aim is by 2030 to have 50% of their raw materials originating from recycled batteries, reducing the need to mine raw materials and lower the environmental footprint of cells by reducing mining-related emissions.

Emma Nehrenheim, Chief Environmental Officer, Northvolt says: “The partnership with Hydro is an important piece of the puzzle to secure an external feed of material before our own batteries begin returning back to us.”

UPDATE: 22nd June 2021: An additional $2.75bn equity fund raising was agreed yesterday. The new investment will allow Northvolt to produce batteries for 1 million EV's a year.
They are aiming to produce 25% of Europe's batteries by 2030.

The joint venture with VW has been put on hold, as their current gigafactories will now be built bigger, so they won't need so many factory sites. 
All batteries for VW will be built at Northvolt Ett in Sweden, along with items for BMW, Fluence and Scania. Contracts totalling more than $13 billion.

UK-based Faradion have created sodium-ion cells as a replacement for lead-acid batteries. Suitable for low-cost electric transport such as e-scooters, e-bikes and e-rickshaws. They offer a greater range and carrying capacity to the lead-acid batteries for a similar price.

Partners include SHARP, Williams, University of Oxford, Warrick and Sheffield, and Jaguar/LandRover.

New York-based NOHMs creates Long Lasting, Low Cost, and Non-flammable Batteries For Electric Vehicles and Mobile Devices

Lithium-ion batteries have safety concerns related to battery overheat and short circuits. These are all issues that need to be looked into to ensure the safety of vehicle occupants.
NOHMs develops electrolyte solutions containing a new functional ionic liquid material that allows for the creation of non-flammable batteries for different transport applications.


With the industry combining all these battery developments, this will ultimately help drive down electric vehicles' cost and make them accessible to all in the future.

 

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