Have we reached the end of lithium-ion battery technology?

The speed at which technologies change is dizzying. Electricity has only taken a significant place in the car for about ten years, but according to an important BMW engineer interviewed by the American site Inside EVs, Simon Erhard, we are close to a new generation of batteries . Those with solid electrolytes, which promise mountains and wonders thanks to a higher energy density in a smaller footprint, thus making it possible to reduce the size of batteries for the same capacity, or vice versa to have batteries with a greater capacity than ‘today.

But it will still take several years to see this technology develop enough to keep its promises and reach an industrial production stage. For Erhard, the transition to “solid batteries” will take place in about ten years. He even went as far as to insist that a completely solid electrolyte battery operation will be available from 2030, in just seven years. Which also means that in the next few years, we will still be stuck with lithium-ion batteries which we already know, although improved upon.

The limitations of exercise

BMW will also launch a new platform optimized for electric called Neue Klasse from 2025, the latter also accepts new generation lithium-ion batteries: better integration with the chassis, improved charging time, up to about 1,000 km of autonomy, an announced better production with 60% more fewer CO2 emissions… Something to celebrate on paper, even if Simon Erhard also draws attention to the fact that we seem to have reached a glass ceiling in terms of industrialization in this technology. “From an energy density point of view, I think we are at the top of the chemistry for lithium-ion cells, in an industrial application. If you want a balanced technology that can be used on a large market size, II don I don’t think we’ll go that far,” he said.

While waiting for the massive arrival of solid electrolyte technology, we can also be in the coming years of batteries that take the best of both worlds, and allow in particular to recover several hundred kilometers of autonomy in just How many minutes. It remains to be seen if this interval can survive from an economic point of view, which remains the roots of war for the companies that make them.

The solid electrolyte: good and bad

By resisting overheating far superior to current batteries, solid electrolyte technology allows frequent ultra-fast charging, as long as do without a battery cooling system, thereby saving weight and space in vehicles. The finding of kilos proved by the absence of liquid in the cells, which also limits the risk of a very complex fire being extinguished in the event of a fire.

But if we look at the state of technology at present T, there is still a long way to go. First, receiving strong currents remains an obstacle, thus playing with the recharging times and the maximum power that the battery provides. There is also a problem of size, as it is difficult for the moment to create solid electrolyte batteries as dense as the best lithium-ion already available for the same amount of energy, thus limiting the interest of this technology. However, it is reasonable for us to think that in a decade, with manufacturers like BMW but also industrial giants like the Volkswagen group and Toyota, the proposal changes enough to be viable, both technically and economically.

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