Top 3 Reasons Why Cars Are Becoming "Batteries on Wheels"
Performance. Cost. Design. What do these three car specifications have in common? Batteries.
When purchasing a car, the main factors that usually stand out to the buyer are quality, cost of ownership, reliability and design. In terms of the actual vehicle, the most important components until today were the engine, the car’s parts and transmission. However, this is going to change with the massive adoption of EVs. Indeed, their leading factors, both related to price and performance, will be determined by the battery.
A car’s batteries and battery quality doesn’t just determine its autonomy, it defines the vehicle’s performance, how much it costs and how much space they take in the final product, making batteries the key parameter of EVs.
Batteries as the Key Component of EVs
Batteries are so much more than fuel and are important on so many different levels for EVs. They will dominate the automotive industry’s development as well as the EVs we buy with a much greater impact than we’re aware of. Indeed, batteries will be able to determine everything about the car's performance from range to power to cost. As such, investing in battery technologies and manufacturing is a key component to taking EVs to the next level as well as the electrification revolution.
Here are 3 reasons why cars are becoming batteries on wheels:
1. Vehicle Performance
Requirements for EV batteries are complex as the industry needs them to store a lot of energy, recharge quickly and retain their energy density over many thousands of charging cycles; however, this is not yet the case. Considering batteries today are either high power or high energy, finding the right balance for EVs can be challenging.
Range - Energy
As EVs need to function for extended periods of time, they need to be powered by high capacity batteries that allow them to cover long distances. Batteries that have a higher capacity, are suited to long rages or long operational times use thick electrodes allowing them to store more energy. This needs to be achieved without the worry of running out of energy and the constant need to recharge, a common issue in the EV world. Indeed, range anxiety, where a vehicle has insufficient range to get to its destination and would in turn strand the vehicle's occupants, is considered to be one of the major barriers to large-scale adoption of EVs.
To achieve high capacity, Addionics uses 3D electrodes with a porous metal structure where the active material is loaded into. This means that in any given volume, more active material can be loaded, extending EV range.
Charging Time - Power
Whilst EVs are not power applications, they still need high power abilities for fast charging times and high power for moments like accelerating. Having more power-oriented batteries is essential to accelerate how fast they can charge and how usable EVs are. For the average EV, it takes at least 30 minutes to charge 80% of the battery, compared to an approximate 5-minute stop at the gas station to fully refuel. Indeed, an important drawback of EV use is how long it takes to charge the battery as the majority of users don’t want to wait all this time. To achieve full adoption of EVs, this parameter has to improve to allow an easier usability for the drivers.
For Addionics 3D electrodes, their structure reduces internal resistance by improving ion transportation and heat dissipation inside the battery cell. The unique metal structure shortens the path needed to transport ions when charging and discharging, also improving heat dissipation and allowing homogeneous temperature distribution throughout the cell.
One of the main issues preventing the full adoption of EVs is cost. Due to the nature of EVs and the distances they cover, they contain huge battery packs. Indeed, they currently account for around 30% of the final cost for the customer. This means that the quality of the battery will mostly determine the cost of the vehicle. If you'll buy an expensive car - the battery are probably really good - hence the performance of the car.
With time, batteries will be more mass-produced and interchangeable between cars. As such, whilst the price of a lithium-ion battery pack was $137/kWh in 2020, it is estimated that by 2024, average prices will be below $100/kWh.
When the cost is low enough for car manufacturers and then for end users, it will be possible for internal combustion engine vehicles to be replaced (along with the performance, charging speed and rage). Indeed, the cost of EVs needs to be equal or cheaper than that of internal combustion engine vehicles in order for their adoption to be completed. Additionally, it’s not always one size fits all meaning that not all batteries can be switched out for each other, limiting the extent to which they can be mass produced.
3. Space Utilization
To provide the energy required to propel a car, EV battery packs have to be quite large. In Tesla’s Model S, the 85 kWh battery pack weighs 540 kg and contains 7,104 lithium-ion battery cells in 16 modules wired in series.
Most EVs on the market today use similar battery tech with thousands of battery cells packaged into modules or pockets which when assembled make up the EV’s battery. In general, these battery packs stretch over several meters in length and therefore are often placed along the chassis of the car.
Though EVs have heavy and expensive battery packs, an internal combustion engine vehicle has thousands of parts whereas an EV has the batteries, the engine and the wheels: no oil or complicated cooling systems. The result is that with the batteries so strategically placed, there is a lot more room in the front and back of the car.
As one of the most important components of a car, batteries determine and influence overall car performance and capabilities. Addionics’ technology enables a greater loading of the active material into the battery, allowing longer driving range, while being able to reduce charging time thanks to the lower internal resistance. The Addionics process is both low-cost and drop-in ready, meaning it can seamlessly be added to any manufacturing process.