Samsung's central research lab has developed a lithium-air battery prototype that would nearly double the range of electric vehicles.
Samsung Electronics is developing a technology that could give electric-vehicle batteries almost double the capacity of today's mainstream lithium-ion power packs and essential nearly double the range of electric vehicles.
Produced by Samsung's central research lab, the lithium-air battery prototype has a capacity of 520 watt-hours per kilogram. Consider that Nissan Motor's new Leaf electric car can run 400km on a full charge. Samsung's new battery would theoretically let a similar electric vehicle go more than 700km.
Samsung achieved this impressive capacity by cutting the width of the separator by more than 90% to 20 microns, making it possible to cram in more cells.
A lithium-air cell takes in oxygen from the air, which reacts with lithium to generate electricity. This allows for a higher capacity, while the smaller amount of materials needed should reduce both weight and cost.
However, lithium-air batteries suffer of performance degradation after specific recharging cycles. Furthermore, the battery takes several hours to fully charge. This means that more development and testing is needed before we actually see a commercially available lithium-air power pack.
Lithium-ion batteries are currently used in electric vehicles, with Panasonic, Samsung SDI, LG Chem and Chinese players to compete with each other for a market share.
Solid-state batteries are widely seen as the next step, as they have increased capacity and they charge faster than Lithium-ion batteries. Toyota plans to commercialize solid-state batteries by the mid-2020s.