Innovations in battery technology: Powering future of EVs – ET Auto

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The following battery technology innovations and trends will continue to play a big role in the development of the EV sector in the coming years.

New Delhi: Over the years, it has become a well-established fact that the battery industry is the key to ensuring a smooth transition from fossil fuels. This is why, in the next couple of years we can expect a sharp rise in the demand for advanced batteries driven by the need for upgraded technology and innovative solutions.

A 2023 report by McKinsey & Co highlighted that the global battery demand is projected to jump from 700 GWh in 2022 to a massive 4.7 TWh in 2030, driven by the advancements in the mobility sector. The Energy Storage Association predicted in 2022 that the requirement for battery storage in India would reach 160 GWh in 5 years. With India joining the global race to position itself as a leader in the EV ecosystem, it is embracing innovations to boost battery production to cater to the evolving requirements of the sector.

On that note, let’s discuss the latest innovations and trends in battery technology and how they can revolutionize the future of electric vehicles.

Innovations and trends in battery tech

The following battery technology innovations and trends will continue to play a big role in the development of the EV sector in the coming years.

Rise in demand for Lion-batteries: With a rise in demand for electric vehicles across commercial and personal vehicle segments, the demand for lithium-ion batteries will witness a sharp surge. Currently, lithium-ion batteries are one of the most sought-after technologies for their energy density and use case. In the upcoming years, more innovations can be expected in the battery type’s energy density, charging speed, and overall safety features that help improve their performance.

New Lithium-sulphur batteries: Lithium-sulphur batteries are known for their high energy density and relatively lower cost. In fact, compared to lithium-ion batteries, the sulphur alternatives are said to use more sustainable materials. With researchers looking to address prevalent battery stability and life cycle challenges, advanced lithium-sulphur batteries could emerge as a practical solution in the coming years.

Solid-state batteries with more density: At present, one of the most promising battery technology innovations that could revolutionize electric vehicles has to be solid-state batteries. These batteries employ solid electrolytes, eliminating the prevalent risk of leakage. In turn, this feature enhances safety features and makes them more efficient. These new-age batteries are also said to offer high energy density, facilitating more energy storage in compact and lighter packages. This technological innovation could enhance EV performance by facilitating longer driving ranges and ensuring faster charging.

Silicon anode batteries for high storage:These particular batteries are increasingly becoming popular as they can store more energy compared to graphite anodes. Silicon typically has more energy density, enabling it to store more energy. Needless to say, this new-age battery technology can help in increasing the range of electric vehicles. However, they tend to expand and contract during the battery charging and discharging processes, which can trigger the anode to break down with use. Hence, more research is required to make this innovation more functional and viable.

Recycling of batteries: Battery recycling or urban mining could emerge as a lucrative proposition as the process enables the extraction of metals at high purity levels at lower Capex than mining. Today, more battery recyclers are trying to position themselves as urban miners and working to repurpose batteries. This, in turn, is creating a secondary market for the components. With the Indian government trying to localize cell production, the battery recycling sector can gain prominence over time. In addition, EV companies which aim to promote circularity could accelerate the growth of this sector.

Fast charging specification and longevity:Fast charging is rapidly emerging as a crucial requirement for EV owners, particularly commercial fleets, who cannot afford extended downtime during active hours. To cater to this need, innovations in battery technology are becoming more frequent in key areas, such as battery lifespan, charging time, and lowering the impact of battery degradation.

Inflow of investment in battery swapping: In the past few years, the battery-swapping segment of the industry recorded a substantial inflow of capital primarily due to its value proposition and long-term potential to scale. More investors, including leading EV players, are increasingly recognizing the need to invest in the charging infrastructure, which includes fast chargers, slow chargers, and battery swapping hubs, to help address the issue of range anxiety. With a rise in collaborative efforts, innovations in battery swapping are bound to become frequent in this domain.

Prospects of EV battery technology

The industry is still at a nascent stage and is faced with several uncertainties when it comes to an efficient supply chain. In order to achieve the EV targets for 2030, the battery segment needs to gear up more rapidly. In this regard, substantial investment in the battery value chain could help lower battery manufacturing costs, making the components cheaper.

Since EV batteries make up nearly 50%-70% of an electric vehicle’s cost, reducing its cost of production and price could make EVs more affordable for the general masses. With more government schemes and initiatives like the PLI scheme in action, the domain of advanced cell chemistry batteries could see a boost.

However, the domain is dependent on technological innovation to stay relevant in the evolving market and help achieve the national EV goals. This dependency calls for a more active approach toward R&D efforts backed by timely capital allocation to catalyze the growth of advanced batteries and EV adoption.

As the world becomes aware of the merit of sustainable mobility, innovations in EV battery technology continue to increase at a commendable rate. Advancements in battery technology, such as solid-state batteries, lithium-ion and lithium-sulphur batteries, and silicon anode batteries, are taking centre-stage in the industry. Battery manufacturers and EV makers are focusing on increasing battery energy density and fast charging features. They are also keenly navigating technological developments to boost battery longevity and facilitate recycling so that the masses can overcome the challenges in EV adoption.

(Disclaimer: Sushant Kumar is the founder and managing director of AMO Mobility. Views are personal.)

  • Published On Jan 15, 2024 at 04:51 PM IST

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