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Samsung researchers build solid-state EV battery with 500-mile range (caranddriver.com)
74 points by airstrike 80 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 38 comments



Yawn. Another battery breakthrough with x10 price...

Far more interesting is this [1]

> china-is-building-one-battery-gigafactory-a-week

> There are 136 of these super-sized EV battery plants in operation or being planned: 101 in China and 8 in the USA.

[1] https://www.benchmarkminerals.com/membership/china-is-buildi...

Tesla of course is a premium brand with pricing power. But can Tesla sustain any sort of real battery manufacturing advantage over China?


Unfortunately, they can't :/ they committed to using locally made batteries in China, still are sourcing from Panasonic for Fremont, and never got the New York Gigafactory running, even after outsourcing it to Panasonic. The million mile battery Musk has been teasing is from CATL


> Yawn. Another battery breakthrough with x10 price...

Who said anything about price? This is an R&D milestone at best, not a consumer product as the article very clearly states both in the subtitle and in the body of the article.

> Far more interesting is this [1]

Great way to derail the conversation


>But can Tesla sustain any sort of real battery manufacturing advantage over China?

We think a lot about developing better car batteries, but car batteries are fine -- if the world had to live with 300-mile ranges, it would probably not be the end of prosperity. What we need are grid batteries, which are the only realistic replacement for fossil fuel power plants -- sorry, nuclear alone, while a valuable part of a future grid, won't handle variable loads.

Grid batteries are a commodity. By contrast these increasingly efficient car batteries are basically a luxury product. Unfortunately capitalism won't normally allocate many resources towards something with low profit margins, but the Chinese government will. Whether or not Tesla can keep up with China at making toys, it is no remedy for the lack of action by our own governments to provide technologies Tesla can't make money off of.


tesla is doing great making their own batteries with panasonic, that's a key reason they got this far. their new batteries coming in the us will cement their leadership. It's mass high quality batteries that keeps them ahead.



500-Mile Range! Wow! /sarcasm

How long is a piece of string? As long as you need it to be (as long as you keep adding more string)

Samsung Press Release: https://news.samsung.com/global/samsung-presents-groundbreak...

Concrete claims:

50% better volumetric efficiency for their prototype. No mention of pack or module volume.

> "the ultrathin Ag-C nanocomposite layer allowed the team to reduce anode thickness and increase energy density up to 900Wh/L."

1000 charge cycles.

No information about: temperature range, cell voltage, material cost, manufacturing requirements, impact sensitivity, a million other things needed for a commercial product.

---

I will believe in Solid State batteries when iPhones come with them.


Power to weight ratio is also interesting for a vehicle, not just power per volume. Some variant of the Rocket Equation must come into play because you need stored power to carry around your stored power.


"Rocket Equation", thank you! I've had a total brain-block on that term as I was literally just trying to answer a question related to this, on a Tesla forum, and I couldn't remember the name! The inevitable question of "Why can't they just add more battery for more range?" Like you mentioned it's some variant of this and I'm sure there is a name for it. I'm not a mechanical engineer. But again, dragging more mass requires more energy. In an automobile, you'd need a bigger and stronger car. My Model 3 is one heavy beast. More weight and it would need bigger (perhaps more) tires and a heavier/stronger drivetrain. The new Roadster was must have been planned for "some time in the future" production (not in production yet) because they have some formula that dictated a new battery was coming. A 620 mile range on a car that can do 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds (twice the range of my car) has to have some way of reducing that weight. Who knows. Fascinating problems. I wish I had gotten myself into that sort of engineering when I was young(er).


The Rocket Equation is important for rockets because they cannot pause and refuel like cars or even airplanes can. There's no compromise or trade-off in the rocket equation. For cars or airplanes you can have a smaller tank and more refuelling. Obviously for airplanes there is some minimal tank size where you can't actually take off, and some maximal tank size where your airplane doesn't have any usable cargo/passenger space.

---

The limit for cars is almost always tires, as it is in this case. Or rather the interface between tires and the road. Weight always deforms the road surface, more weight deforms the road more, and at a certain point the road quickly breaks down.

Thus, governments put weight limits on vehicles [0]. In my state, it's 20,000 pounds for a single axle (it assumes you will be using a truck and loading the rear axle).

If we take that 20,000 pounds and subtract 2,000 for the cabin and the rest of the drivetrain, you could have 18,000 pounds of batteries. I think 18,000 pounds of batteries could take you a long long way.

As a cross reference, a Commercial Drivers License is only required at 26,000 pounds. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_driver%27s_license

0: https://www.txdmv.gov/motor-carriers/oversize-overweight-per...


It sounds like the key promise of solid state batteries is shorter charge times (10x better according to [1]).

[1] https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/hybrid-electric/news/a...


This research was published March 9 in Nature Energy:

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-020-0575-z

It appears that the key advance is to prevent dendrite growth on the anode by covering it with a layer of silver-carbon composite. No idea why silver was chosen, but it seems to be in small enough amounts not to drive up the cost of the battery. Manufacturing this battery at large scales will require scaling up the process of producing the anode, which could take a while.

It is still essentially a lithium-ion battery with the usual (cobalt-containing) cathode materials, but I see no reason the same anode technology couldn't be used with a cobalt-free cathode, should such cathodes ever catch on.



From the article:

> The battery they built has a 500-mile range

Cool!

> ...and can be recharged more than 1000 times.

Wait, what? That seems like a very small number to quote. I mean, I assume when a company quotes a number like that, the real number isn't _much_ higher than the number they do quote. Let's say, 1200 or so. I'd really like some clarity on that number. If 'charging' in this context means going from say 80% -> 100%, That's less than 4 years if you charge it that much every every night, which may be very close to typical. What happens after 1000 charges? I assume at that point there is some loss of capacity as is typical, but it'd be helpful to know how much loss.


If that's 1000 full charge-discharge cycles, that'd be completely acceptable (assuming that the usable capacity is still close to 100% at the end of the lifespan) for a car which typically has a lifespan of 150,000 miles or so.

(1000 * 500 miles / charge) = 500,000 miles


Agreed. It'd be nice if we could have some kind of confirmation.


I'm not an expert on the issue, but that's a good number.

The original article states it's a cycle life of 1000 charges, that means full charges, say charging from 90% to 100% doesn't count as a full charge. These batteries are tested with 0->100 charges, but other factors affect battery life, like temperature and charging rate. After the 1000 cycles the battery isn't dead, it will just hold partial charge, basically degrading partially over time each discharge. It's basically saying "After 1000 full charges, the battery will only retain 80% of the original battery capacity".

IIRC my pixel 3a has LiPo battery and is rated for 300 cycles and from what I can tell lithium ion usually has a cycle life of ~500.

edit: Adding link to original article https://news.samsung.com/global/samsung-presents-groundbreak...


> What happens after 1000 charges?

Usually the end-of-life for traction batteries is specified at 80% of original charge (80% state of health), after that they're recycled as industrial energy storage for grids etc.

But with articles such as these, claiming breakthroughs and whatnot, it's always good to be extra suspicious and verify that they're using the same assumptions.


...in a lab. I wish battery articles would include in the title whether they are commercialized or just achieved in ideal conditions.


The Tesla Model S currently has a 400-mile range, so this would represent an incremental improvement.

Personally, I can't see driving that distance without a break (at a supercharger) somewhere in the middle, so the incremental range benefit is definitely not a game-changer.

A more important breakthrough would be in cost-per-watt-hour. If we saw much cheaper batteries with the same capacity, it would go a long way toward reducing our use of fossil fuels, both in vehicles and in electricity generation.


They also mentioned the solid state battery has a 50% smaller footprint than Lithium. And that's a first run at this. Presumably they could keep the same footprint as Lithium and have a 1000 mile range.


> The researchers say that using silver-carbon instead of lithium metal in a prototype pouch yields a battery with a higher capacity, lengthens the cycle life, and makes the battery safer. The layer of silver-carbon measures only five micrometers thick, but if it can accomplish in the real world what the Samsung team pulled off in the lab, it could substantively change EVs in the future.

As others noted, it's also 50% smaller. The headline is kind of misleading the range is only part of the story.


The article is light on specifics, but they link to a press release with at least a tiny bit more information. Namely, the pouch has an energy density of 900 wh/L, about twice what Tesla is using. That's huge if true. That's even bigger if there is a corresponding reduction in wh/Kg.


50% smaller is nothing to be sniffed at.


double the range 2x400miles - pound for battery pound.


Comparing in mileage seems terrible to me. Surely Elon could make a 5000 mile range EV with a big enough "battery" right?


The mileage is just for the headline. A better stat mentioned in the article is that this one has a 50% smaller footprint than Lithium


This article is from March and is referencing this research paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-020-0575-z

The research looks interesting, so the question is whether they can develop an inexpensive mass manufacturing process. If they can, can they do so before other batteries upstage them? These batteries appear to be about 23% more energy dense (volumetrically) than Tesla Model 3 batteries, with some possible safety advantages as a bonus. However, by the time these batteries hit the market (2-3 years minimum, I would guess) Tesla will probably be at or above that energy density level. The safety advantages will probably make it competitive for at least some applications, though, and they may be able to increase the energy density even further, so we will have to wait and see.


I don't get why people still fall for the miracle battery announcement. Maybe it's because I am more interested in batteries than the average person, but I've seen dozens of vaporware battery announcements and see very little reason to believe that this is not one.

Sure, it might be better in some dimensions, but it's almost certainly not the immediate revolution, because there is almost always some way in which these supposed miracle batteries fatally suck (life span, temperature sensitivity, energy efficiency, weight, self-discharge, volume, material cost, mass-producability).

My view is pretty in line with Elon Musk's here: In the mid term lithium-ion batteries will keep being the best compromise. I'll really believe that a new technology is not vaporware when I hear Elon talk about or Tesla invest in it (this has happened with Maxwell capacitors, for example).


I don't think anyone's quite claiming the technology in the article to be revolutionary. The subtitle literally says "but don't expect to see it anytime soon"

The fact that it isn't a panacea for all energy ills shouldn't preclude us from discussing it as an incremental development, agreed?


>> Plus, the battery pack created during the research was 50 percent smaller than a conventional lithium-ion battery.

...so if you put the same pound for pound battery size (Tesla Li-ion 400miles) you'd get 800-1000miles per charge?


good lord, you all are tough customers. It also takes up 50% less space and charges faster (though doesn't say how by much).

i would say their scientists and bean counters know better than to throw money away.


They should put some in self bricking Bluray players https://hackaday.com/2020/06/26/ask-hackaday-what-can-be-don... , or exploding smartphones.


"Plus, the battery pack created during the research was 50 percent smaller than a conventional lithium-ion battery."

So can we just keep the battery the same size and now it has 1000 mile range?

And - (knows nothing about EV battery technology) - these batteries are liquid cooled, no? Is there no solvent they can run through the battery to "clean off" the crystals that develop?


The battery in a Tesla is about 25% of its weight. So, going to a battery that’s 50% of the current battery’s weight (assumption #1: smaller = equivalently lighter) would cut about 12% of the car’s weight in batteries alone.

I guess designing the car around those lighter batteries can get you a total decrease in weight of around 20%.

If so, and assuming that’s a similar decline in energy used per kilometer, a 50% smaller and lighter battery already can give you 25% more range.

(disclaimer: back-of-the-envelope calculation by a non-expert)


>Yawn. Another battery breakthrough with x10 price...

>I will believe in Solid State batteries when iPhones come with them.

Wow this community is full of assholes who vote each other to the top as to avoid or derail conversation.

The title itself says it is about research, if you don't care until the technology is packaged into a product which is then packaged into an iPhone please just shut up, go elsewhere. Find an article about iPhone accessories to comment on.

Sorry about the coarse language but its much more civil than a lot of the supposedly enlightened takes I see here, and its only gotten more snotty in time.


July's issue of "Battery Tech Hopium" mag came a few days early. Nice, nice.


Is it the same Samsung whose batteries were banned on flights just a couple of years ago? I think I'm gonna wait and see on this one.




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