SAN JOSE, Ca. – Electric carmakers have long been clamoring for a battery breakthrough that will improve the range of their vehicles while also extending their lifespans. Innolith, a Swiss startup, says its new high-density lithium-ion batteries can do just that.
The company claims to have made the world’s first 1,000 Wh/kg rechargeable battery. (Watt-hours per kilogram is a unit of measurement commonly used to describe the density of energy in batteries.) By comparison, the batteries that Tesla uses in its Model 3 — the so-called 2170 cells — are an estimated 250 Wh/kg; the company plans to eventually push that to 330 Wh/kg. Meanwhile, the US Department of Energy is funding a program to create 500 Wh/kg battery cells. If Innolith’s claims turn out to be true, its high-density battery may have just leap-frogged over those targets.
“It’s a big jump,” Innolith chairman Alan Greenshields said in an interview with The Verge. “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 US Department of Energy have set. So this is a big deal.”
A battery with that density would be capable of powering an electric car for 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) on a single charge. That’s far greater than the current lithium-ion batteries on the market today. Tesla’s batteries, which are produced by Panasonic, can support 330 miles of range in the most expensive models. Most major automakers are aiming for a similar range in their electric vehicles.
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