Why it matters: Despite the amount of money and human resources involved in developing better battery technology, progress has been relatively slow. An Israeli startup says it has achieved commercial viability for a new battery that trades in some energy density for much faster charging speeds, and might end up in electric cars in the next five years.
It seems like every time we get news of improved battery technology, it's always something experimental that researchers are playing with in a lab setting and may never see the light of day. For example, IBM claimed in 2019 that it had developed a cheap and environmentally friendly battery technology, while small companies like Sila Nanotechnology, Advano and XNRGI have been trying to increase the global manufacturing capacity of batteries while reusing as much of the existing tooling as possible.
However, Israeli company StoreDot this week announced it's come up with an improved battery that has a clear timeline for a mass rollout. The company says it has managed to produce a small run of 1,000 sample lithium-ion batteries that are designed to charge in around five minutes. To that end, StoreDot partnered with Eve Energy, a Chinese manufacturer that's been making battery products for the last 20 years.
This marks an important step towards making the charging of electric cars faster and more convenient. StoreDot has only demonstrated this new technology on an electric scooter, but these are engineering samples that are compliant with the UN 38.3 standard, which is why the company expects to achieve mass production in the coming years. That is, assuming it can find the right strategic partners among tier 1 battery-makers such as Panasonic, Tesla, Samsung, and LG Chem.
StoreDot CEO Doron Myersdorf explains that their "team of top scientists has overcome inherent challenges of extreme fast charging (XFC) such as safety, cycle life and swelling by harnessing innovative materials and cell design. [...] This paves the way for the launch of our second-generation, silicon-dominant anode prototype battery for electric vehicles later this year."
The company is looking to make batteries that can only deliver up to 100 miles of range, as the new battery tech has a lower energy density than current lithium-ion chemistries. On the other hand, StoreDot says its battery can be manufactured using existing tooling, which should make it more attractive for potential partners. Furthermore, Myersdorf says the battery can be recharged 1,000 times while retaining 80 percent of the original capacity.