Electric vehicle batteries eye solid-state technology

An article written by Ashok Bindra for IEEE Power Electronics – The global pressure to cut carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles is driving more and more buyers toward electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid EVs (HEVs).

As the market for EVs and HEVs slowly grows with lithium-ion (Liion) as the battery technology of choice, for reasons well known, there is another technology emerging. Researchers are developing a solid-state (SS) version of Li-ion batteries for EVs that promises to charge and discharge rapidly, offer longer lifecycles, provide a much higher energy density, cost less, and provide greater safety. Besides the performance improvement, safety is a major factor driving automakers toward SS technology. In SS batteries (SSBs), the flammable liquid electrolyte, which passes the charge that carries Li ions during charge and discharge cycles, is replaced by a solid electrolyte. These ongoing improvements in battery technologies will pave the way for an installed EV base of 100 million vehicles by 2028, according to global technology market advisory firm ABI Research, Oyster Bay, New York. In fact, ABI’s principal analyst James Hodgson says, “Lithium-silicon and SS are the future EV battery technologies that will improve performance, hold more energy, and last longer at a lower cost. The addition of silicon alone over the next seven years will grow the EV installed base from 8 million vehicles in 2019 to 40 million in 2025, as consumers’ range anxiety slowly eases”.

During the past few years, several players announced prototype cells and expected commercialization dates, only to withdraw their claims or postpone the results. “Despite decades of development, many technological challenges remain unsolved,” stated Dr. Milan Rosina, principal analyst for power electronics and batteries at market research firm Yole Développement (Yole), Lyon, France. Yole’s latest SSB report indicates that mass production will begin by 2022 and account for less than 1% of the traditional Li-ion battery market by 2025. However, this scenario will change when large SSB manufacturers enter the arena. In fact, according to Rosina, “To commercialize SS batteries, four different technology players are joining forces to share knowledge and overcome challenges” (Figure 1). Those companies produce SS electrolyte technology, equipment, battery cells, and vehicles. However, with work still remaining, there is no commercially available bulk SSB today.

According to Yole, the key technology areas that need to develop include electrolyte-material screening, ionicconductivity enhancement, electrolyte/electrode-interface stability, Li-metal anodes, cell- and pack-manufacturing methods, battery-management systems, and batterypack designs. Yole’s analysts have identified more than 100 companies and R&D groups that are involved in SSB development… Full article

Source: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/tocresult.jsp?isnumber=9003539&punumber=6570649

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