LG takes steps toward cutting battery costs with improved feature

LG takes steps toward cutting battery costs with improved feature

This file photo shows a sign with Tesla’s logo outside a Tesla dealership in the United States. AP-Yonhap

By Kim Yoo-chul

During a recent battery event organized by Tesla, CEO Elon Musk said that he was aiming to set a $25,000 price target for electric vehicles (EVs) by 2023. This target is being considered quite ambitious as today’s least expensive EV model is about $38,000.

Many outstanding issues currently need to be addressed in terms of achieving EV manufacturers’ commitment to delivering mass-market products. But more precisely and importantly, realizing Tesla’s goal means finding new ways to cut costs through technology development.

The central question is, how will battery manufacturers sell batteries with better pricing and improved specifications. Currently, batteries make up more than 30 percent of the cost of EVs, in order to ensure the driver safety. Along with Tesla, all global automakers are in the midst of investing tens of billions of dollars to strengthen their EV portfolios, in addition to accessing a wide range of tax and other benefits from governments.

This trend is providing huge business growth opportunities for leading battery suppliers. Once battery suppliers develop specific ways to change and renew battery design so as to deliver better performance, then the chances will increase for them to get more battery orders from major EV makers.

LG Energy Solution (LGES), which is battling with China’s CATL for battery market supremacy, is taking steps towards mass-producing batteries with affordable prices and enhanced features, as it claims that some outstanding issues have been addressed before mass-producing enhanced solid-state batteries.

All batteries consist of cathode and anode components. But one of the key differences is that the materials being used differ, the core point being the amount of energy they can hold and consume. Automakers favor energy-dense materials and faster charging, even at high temperatures Celsius, without compromising fire risks. LGES’s refinements highlight the usage of silicon anodes in its solid-state battery technology.

In a statement, Friday, LGES said that its engineers teamed up with U.S. researchers for the creation of a new type of battery that weaves two promising battery sub-fields into a single battery. The battery uses both a solid-state electrolyte and an all-silicon anode, making it a silicon all-solid-state battery, as described in?the September issue?of the journal, Science.

“As battery researchers, it’s vital to address the root problems in the system. For silicon anodes, we know that one of the big issues is the liquid electrolyte interface instability. This new work offers a promising solution to the silicon anode problem, though there is more work to do,” UC San Diego?Nano-engineering?Professor Shirley?Meng was quoted as saying in the statement. She is also one of the authors of the paper.

Next-generation,?solid-state batteries with high energy densities have always relied on metallic lithium as an anode. But such reliance places restrictions on the battery charge rates, and the need for an elevated temperature (usually 60 degrees Celsius or higher) during charging. The silicon anode overcomes these limitations, allowing much faster charge rates at room to low temperatures, while maintaining high energy densities, the statement reported.

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