Startup Innolith Claims to Have EV Battery Capable of 600 Miles of Range
Mainstream automakers continue to make great strides in electric-vehicle range. While Tesla continues to lead the pack with EVs that can travel more than 300 miles on a single charge, the Hyundai Kona Electric has an impressive 258 miles of range. Compare that to electric cars from just a few years ago, and it's easy to see just how far car companies have come. Still, range is one of the major reasons why EVs aren't as popular as gasoline vehicles.
A Cure For Range Anxiety
A Swiss startup called Innolith believes it has a new high-density lithium-ion battery that, if true, would propel electric cars to a new level. According to The Verge, Innolith has an 1,000 watt-hours per kilogram rechargeable battery. If the startup really did come out with the world's first 1,000 Wh/kg battery it would be a game changer for future electric cars.
Energy density is used to describe how much electricity can be stored in a specific volume, or the density of energy each battery holds. At 1,000 Wh/kg, Innolith's battery would be a major step up from the current leader, which is Tesla and the American automaker's 2170 cells that have an energy density of 250 Wh/kg. As the outlet points out, the U.S. Department of Energy recently started funding a program to develop 500 Wh/kg battery cells.
"It's a big jump," Alan Greenshields, Innolith's chairman, stated in an interview with the outlet. "It's basically, in rough numbers, four times the current state-of-the-art for lithium-ion … Roughly three times what is generally accepted as being the next improvement in lithium. And it's two times the energy density target [that] organizations like the U.S. Department of Energy have set. So this is a big deal."
The juiciest detail about Innolith's battery is that it would provide an electric vehicle with a range of roughly 621 miles. In the right layout, the highest range you're currently able to get in an electric vehicle is 330 miles courtesy of Tesla. Other automakers haven't even been able to eclipse the 300-mile figure, which shows just how impressive Innolith's battery would be.
What Makes Innolith's Batteries So Good?
Modern automakers believe solid-state batteries are the way forward, but Innolith still uses "wet" liquid electrolytes. That's not out of the ordinary, as the majority of brands use similar compositions, but the startup's is unique because the company uses an inorganic substance instead of an organize solvent. According to The Verge, the inorganic substance is more stable and less flammable.
"We take the organic materials out and replace them with inorganic or basically salt-like materials, and that does two things for you," said Greenshields. "One is it gets ride of your fire risk, so, of course, there's nothing to burn. And the second part is you've also got rid of the most reactive components in the system, which makes it easier to build a battery where you can pack in a lot of energy without the thing becoming unstable."
If Innolith were to bring the battery to market, it would be revolutionary. But, as with things this complex, the startup needs some time to sort things out. The first part of actually putting the battery into EVs includes a pilot production in Germany. Then there's licensing partnerships with companies, claims The Verge. Development and commercialization come after, but will probably take numerous years. So while it's exciting news, don't expect this kind of range from an Innolith battery until at least 2022.
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