As the world continues to push for electrification, the battery is at the center of it all. By reducing our reliance on fossil fuels to make the planet a greener place, batteries have the most important role. However, automakers are becoming more and more concerned about the limitations surrounding battery lifetime and the warranty issues that can seriously damage OEMs’ profitability. How can batteries overcome this? The combination of traditional battery lifetime with these concerns is becoming more and more pressing. Whether it’s improving battery lifetime or reducing costs, advanced 3D cell design could be one of the technologies with the potential to create the required step change in battery performance and cost.
Traditional Battery Lifetime
To compete with current fuel-run vehicles, EVs and their batteries must be able to perform reliably for 10-15 years in a range of climates and through thousands of cycles. Indeed, batteries that can charge quickly and last long are essential to the EV market expanding. Yet, after a number of charge cycles and a certain amount of usage and time, a battery’s maximum charge capacity will start to decrease.
Today, the most common batteries used in EVs are lithium batteries, using NMC and LFP chemistries. Their lifetime ranges between 1,500 to 2,000 charge cycles before degradation begins.
Future technologies like silicon have started to be commercialized in a few select cases. However, in the case of its mechanical properties, with its high energy, it expands and contracts during charging cycles. This volume expansion can lead to a quicker degradation and a shortened battery life. For solid state, though there are claims that it can reach up to 3,000 charging cycles, it has yet to be commercialized.
Carmakers are becoming increasingly concerned about battery lifetime and how many years they can last for.
When a consumer buys a product, it’s covered by a warranty that lasts a specific amount of time. If a battery starts to degrade during its warranty period, the car manufacturer needs to replace it and this can cost a lot. In the US, for example, federal regulations require automakers to warranty batteries for 8 years or 100,000 miles. As such, if the battery loses capacity before this, it should be covered by the warranty. On the other hand, if it starts degrading after this, it will need to be replaced at the consumer’s expense.
Concerned Carmakers and Consumers
Replacing a battery tends to cost approximately $200 per kWh, meaning that almost $10,000 will be needed for 40kWh. With the Tesla Model S’s battery at 95kWh, around $19,000 would be required to change it. Now that EVs are becoming more widespread, this is becoming a bigger worry for carmakers who would have to cover the expense during the warranty period. Furthermore, this is also concerning to consumers as this would significantly affect potential resale value when they want to change cars after the warranty has expired. Additionally, battery lifetime is not the only performance concern for OEMs as batteries need to have a long range, charge fast, be safe, and all at a low cost. Therefore, finding improvements is crucial to reassure both auto manufacturers and consumers alike that switching to EVs is the best solution. How do automakers intend on solving this problem today? From trying new technologies to increase lifetime to reducing the cost of production, changing the structure could be the solution.
Smart 3D Electrodes Design to Improve Battery Lifetime
One of the main technologies that OEMs are looking into today, is new battery design. The 3D design, which focuses on the electrodes structure, comes with several advantages to improve battery efficiency and of course, lifetime. Indeed, with improved heat dissipation and mechanical stability, 3D design can optimize the two main areas that are responsible for battery degradation and a shorter lifetime.
Improved Heat Dissipation
The nature of the metal framework allows a more homogeneous temperature distribution throughout the battery along with higher mechanical stability. The low internal resistance of its porous structure allows heat transfer and dissipation to take place much more effectively than with traditional electrodes. This also impacts the internal resistance by lowering it and enables faster charging and discharging, and general working at high currents. As a result, the battery doesn’t suffer from extreme hotspots, which cause a fast rate of battery degradation.
Improved Mechanical Stability
Moreover, while the active material is layered on the metal in traditional 2D electrodes, 3D electrode structures have a higher mechanical stability as some of the layers are integrated instead. This reduces layer separation that frequently occurs while working at high currents and improves battery lifetime.
Battery Heroes with Addionics
With current battery design limiting battery lifetime and leading to high costs, their widespread adoption is threatened. 3D design has the potential to increase battery lifetime all at a smaller cost. Indeed, with Addionics Smart 3D Electrodes batteries can have a higher mechanical stability, charge faster, extended usage times, and higher energy and power, at the same time as lowering the costs. The technology can be integrated into any battery chemistry, new or existing, and added to any battery assembly line. Adopting Smart 3D Electrodes can push the entire industry forward while improving battery lifetime and reducing costs: a win-win for both manufacturers and consumers.