Porsche invests in new battery technology

German manufacturers never stop forging partnerships with battery specialists. Today, Porsche confirms the signing of an agreement with Group14 Technologies.

Car manufacturers are by nature not specialists in the manufacture of electronic components, with the advent of the electric car, the only solution is to turn to experts. Especially since we have to prepare for the future: between the difficulty of supplying certain metals, the battery passport in Europe which will impose carbon limits for their manufacture and the search for better energy density, it is up to who will bet on the right horse and above all the right chemistry for its plug-in vehicles of tomorrow. And in this little game, the Germans are already placing their pawns. After establishing a partnership with a specialized company leading to the creation of CellForce Group for high performance batteriesPorsche is now turning to another company, this time American.

Longer lasting batteries?

Solid, cobalt-free, with silicon anode and much more, the batteries of the future are promised to be more stable, more durable and more efficient.
Solid, cobalt-free, with silicon anode and much more, the batteries of the future are promised to be more stable, more durable and more efficient.©Ford

Today, the vast majority of lithium-ion batteries have anodes (« negative » terminal in discharge, let’s remember) made of graphite. But many companies are looking for alternatives to improve the durability and resistance of the battery to high charging and discharging powers. A crucial issue in order to reduce the charging times of electric vehicles as chargers gain kW. Researchers are thus moving towards silicon, an element abundant on Earth which has certain advantages.

The anode developed by the American company Group14 Technologies could « change the game » for the recharging of electric car batteries according to Cellforce Group and Porsche. However, it remains to be verified whether one of the major obstacles of the 100% silicon anode, namely the swelling during the transfer of ions, has actually been able to be resolved. In which case Porsche would indeed hold an important advance for the end of the decade. In total, Porsche has just invested 100 million dollars in the American company, in particular to be able to supply batteries when the technology is effective. and validated for industrial scale manufacturing.

The silicon anode, a track envisaged by Europe

In any case, silicon is not just of interest to Americans. Europe has launched a big project called « Sintbat » (Silicon based materials and new processing technologies for improved lithium-ion batteries), to develop the potential of silicon in the essential components of a battery. The researchers speak of a battery capable of holding 20 to 25 years, or 10,000 charge cycles. Durability obviously superior to that of current lithium-ion batteries (approximately 1500 cycles). In addition, the CEA recalls another advantage of silicon: « at equivalent mass, silicon stores much more lithium than graphite… Thus it would be theoretically possible to increase the capacity of the battery from 370 to 3600 mAh/g « . But just like for the solid electrolyte battery, the process still needs to be validated for this technology to be viable from a chemical point of view in order to be transposed to an industrial scale. Remember that for its part, Volkswagen has invested large sums in another American, Quantumscape, in order to have priority when the first solid-state batteries will emerge.

Published on 05/05/2022 Updated 05/05/2022

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