Kreisel Electric is building a battery factory in Austria

Rendering of Kreisel Electric future battery plant

 

The battery factory is due to open in March 2017.

 

It’s not the first time I mentioned Kreisel Electric. This company is known for making great electric car conversions, but until now it has been working in small scale projects.

With the new factory Kreisel Electric will assemble 800.000 kWh worth of batteries per year for electric cars, plug-in hybrids and even stationary energy storage systems. If you’re not happy with the current battery of your electric car,  you have reasons to be glad. This company can offer a 55,7 kWh battery for the Volkswagen e-Golf, that currently is only 24,2 kWh. The battery upgrade will move the NEDC range from 190 km to 430 km.

What makes their battery special?

Really not much, just the fact that it uses the best technology currently available in Planet Earth. It’s not martian’s high tech.

 

Let’s take a look at their modules.

 

BLIRND46P LQ

2,4 kg Weight

  • 3,635 V nominal voltage
  • 585,2 Wh energy capacity
  • 161 Ah
  • 1,14 dm³
  • 192×89,5×66,7 mm (LxWxH)

BLIRND36P LQ

2,2 kg Weight

  • 3,635 V nominal voltage
  • 458 Wh energy capacity
  • 126 Ah
  • 0,92 dm³
  • 155,5×89,5×66,7 mm (LxWxH)

BLIRND21P LQ

1,8 kg Weight

  • 3,635 V nominal voltage
  • 267,1 Wh energy capacity
  • 73,5 Ah
  • 0,64 dm³
  • 170×57,0×66,7 mm (LxWxH)

BLIRND14P LQ

0,94 kg Weight

  • 3,635 V nominal voltage
  • 178,1 Wh energy capacity
  • 49 Ah
  • 0,45 dm³
  • 91,0×73,5×66,7 mm (LxWxH)

 

The modules use multiple 18650 cylindrical cells connected in parallel, each with 3.500 mAh. These cells were introduced last year by Sanyo/Panasonic, LG Chem and Samsung SDI.

 

The lygte-info website did a great job testing these three cells.

 

Sanyo/Panasonic NCR18650GA 3500mAh (Red)

Official specifications:

  • Rated capacity: 3300mAh
  • Minimum capacity: 3350mAh
  • Typical capacity: 3450mAh
  • Nominal voltage: 3.6V
  • Discharge end voltage: 2.5V
  • Charging current (Std.): 1.675A
  • Charging voltage: 4.20 +/-0.03V
  • Charging time (Std): 4.0 hours
  • Continuous discharge current (Max.): 10A
  • Internal resistance (AC 1kHz): <38mOhm
  • Cycle life: 300 cycles to 70%
  • Weight: <49.5g
  • Operating temperature: Charge: +10 ~ +45°C, Discharge: -20 ~ +60°C
  • Storage conditions: less than 1 month: -20 ~ +50°C, less than 3 months: -20 ~ +40°C, less than 1 year: -20 ~ +20°C (80% capacity left)

 

 

LG 18650 MJ1 3500mAh (Green)

Official specifications:

  • Nominal Capacity: 3500mAh
  • Minimum Capacity: 3400mAh
  • Nominal voltage: 3.635V
  • Standard charge: 0.5C (1700mA) 4.2V, cut-off 50mA
  • Max. charge voltage: 4.2V +/- 0.05V
  • Max. charge current: 1C (3400mA)
  • Standard discharge: 0.2C (680mA), cut-off 2.5V
  • Max. discharge current: 10A
  • Weight: Max. 49.0g
  • Cycle life : 400 cycles, charge 1.5A, discharge 4A (80%)
  • Operating temperature: Charge: 0° ~ 45°C, Discharge: -20°C ~ 60°C
  • Storage temperature: 1 month: -20°C ~ 60°C, 3 months: -20°C ~ 45°C, 1 year: -20°C ~ 20°C

 

 

Samsung INR18650-35E 3500mAh (Pink)

Official specifications:

  • Nominal capacity: 3500mAh
  • Minimum capacity: 3350mAh
  • Nominal voltage: 3,6V – 3,7V
  • Charging voltage: 4,2V
  • Discharge current: 8A
  • Maximum discharge current: 13A
  • Charge current: 0,6C 2000mA
  • Discharge end voltage: 2,65V
  • Pluspol: FlatTop
  • Chemistry: LiNiCoAlO2
  • Diameter: 18,55mm ± 0,1
  • Height: 65,25mm ± 0,15
  • Weight: 48g ± 1

 

 

Even in the best case scenario these cells don’t give the full 3.500 mAh capacity, you’ll be lucky to get 3.400 mAh. Yet Samsung SDI gets the best results and reinforces my feeling that currently they are the best cell maker. The cells are available to buy online from China in websites like AliExpress.

Kreisel Electric’s battery factory is still 10 months away, I’m sure even better cells will be available by then. Like the 4.000 mAh cells promised since 2009 by Panasonic with silicon added to the anode to increase the energy density.

Comparison of Newly Developed Products and Previous Panasonic Products

3.4 Ah Cell
(Newly developed)
4.0 Ah Cell
(Newly developed)
2.9 Ah Cell
(Current product)
Positive electrode Nickel base
High-density
Nickel base
High-density
Nickel base
Negative electrode Carbon Silicon base Carbon
Capacity 3.4 Ah 4.0 Ah 2.9 Ah
Average discharge voltage 3.6 V 3.4 V 3.6 V
Mass Approx. 46 g Approx. 54 g Approx. 44 g
Energy 12.2 Wh 13.6 Wh 10.4 Wh
Volumetric energy density 730 Wh/L 800 Wh/L 620 Wh/L
Recharging voltage 4.2 V 4.2 V 4.2 V

 

By the way, it’s this new Panasonic cell that I believe that will be used in Tesla Motors 100 kWh batteries.

For me Kreisel Electric is just as important as Tesla Motors to prove that traditional automakers are purposely making unappealing electric cars in the hope to stop the electric revolution.

When Kreisel Electric offer batteries with high energy density 800 Wh/L cells for current electric cars. This is what will happen:

Nissan Leaf with 24 kWh:

317 Wh/L -> 800 Wh/L = 60,6 kWh

Mitsubishi MiEV with 16 kWh:

218 Wh/L -> 800 Wh/L = 58,7 kWh

Renault Zoe with 26 kWh:

275 Wh/L -> 800 Wh/L = 75,6 kWh

Honda Fit EV with 20 kWh:

176 Wh/L -> 800 Wh/L = 90,9  kWh

 

The Renault Zoe with a 75,6 kWh battery that don’t require a lifetime leasing it’s very appealing…

I’m sure that Kreisel Electric won’t be the only company selling batteries for electric cars. When this happen electric car’s devaluation will start to slow down. If you have a Nissan Leaf with a dieing battery or if you’re tired of paying Zoe’s battery scam lease that makes it more expensive to run than a diesel, but can wait one or two years, there is hope.

The battery upgrades will also take advantage of electric cars like Kia Soul EV and Hyundai IONIQ electric that have small batteries but support 100 kW DC fast charging.

Don’t forget to check Kreisel Electric’s site below, they have a lot of cool projects.

 

 

More info:

http://www.kreiselelectric.com/en/blog/kreisel-electric-builds-factory-upper-austria/

http://lygte-info.dk/review/batteries2012/Sanyo%20NCR18650GA%203500mAh%20%28Red%29%20UK.html

http://lygte-info.dk/review/batteries2012/LG%2018650%20MJ1%203500mAh%20%28Green%29%20UK.html

http://lygte-info.dk/review/batteries2012/Samsung%20INR18650-35E%203500mAh%20%28Pink%29%20UK.html

http://news.panasonic.com/global/press/data/en091225-3/en091225-3.html

Pedro Lima

More than natural resources, are wasted human resources that bothers me the most. That's why I'm a strong advocate of a society based on cooperation, not competition, that helps every individual to reach his full potential so that he can contribute back to society. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".

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11 Responses

  1. sapcmc says:

    Now the remaining questions is how much they will charge for the price and how easy will be to find auto repair centres willing to do the assembly.

    • Pedro Lima says:

      At first, without any alternatives they can charge whatever they want, it won’t be cheap. For better prices we need more companies that also do the battery upgrades. LG Chem will build a cell factory in Poland next year, this can drop the kWh price even further and make the battery upgrade business more appealing. I expect companies like this to pop up like mushrooms in the following years. Some startups will born in engineering universities with government incentives.

  2. sapcmc says:

    Now the remaining questions *are how much they will charge for the price and how easy will be to find auto repair centres willing to do the assembly.

  3. loog says:

    I ´d rather pay 10000 Euro to Kreisel to upgrade my C-Zero to 58 kWh, than 35000+ Euro to Hyundai or BMW for half of the range.

  4. Yoda says:

    Great article… thanks…

  5. Ralf K says:

    Pedro, you’re quite optimistic with your “What will happen” scenario. Let’s look at some aspects to consider in addition to the conclusions on volumetric energy density that you made.

    Aspect 1: Volumetric density of cells vs. modules
    ———————————————————————-
    Kreisel uses 3500 mAh cells of type 18650 and let’s assume them with 730 Wh/Liter (at cell level: 12.2Wh / 16.5ccm).

    At _module_ level doing the math they get:
    BLIRND46P LQ 585 Wh / 1,14 Liter => 513 Wh/Liter
    BLIRND36P LQ 458 Wh / 0,92 Liter => 498 Wh/Liter
    BLIRND21P LQ 267 Wh / 0,64 Liter => 417 Wh/Liter
    BLIRND14P LQ 178 Wh / 0,45 Liter => 396 Wh/Liter
    (These are modules with 46, 36, 21, 14 pieces of the 3,5Ah cells.)

    So, at least with the modules listed in their table, volumetric density at module level drops to 55-70% of the volumetric density of the pure 18650 cells.

    This is due to the round shape of the 18650 cells and due to additional necessary space for thermal management measures. With pouches (Leaf, Zoe) or prismatic cells (e-Golf, iMiev, Fit EV ), this drop when going from pouch cells / prismatic cells to modules is almost negligible.
    Conclusion: for every figure on energy density state the level at which it was sampled : cell level, module level, battery pack level (including the case).

    Aspect 2: Cycle life and thermal management
    ———————————————————————-
    The figures in your 3,5Ah cells overview state:
    Cycle life: 300 cycles to 70% (with no statement about charge/discharge currents)
    Cycle life : 400 cycles, charge 1.5A, discharge 4A (80%).
    For automotive use, 1C discharge (4A/3,5Ah) would be normal for 14 kWh battery packs at a speed of about 100 kph constant, but not for 60 to 100 kWh battery packs.

    Clearly, 300 or 400 cycles is not sufficient for car makers, but the testing conditions do change as the C rates for discharging drop once batteries get larger.

    Kreisel claims: 400.000 km from the 55,7 kWh e-Golf battery pack with 430 km of range (but with only 2 years of warranty). This would be around 1000 cycles. Tesla claims 1.000.000 km from 90kWh battery packs with about 500 km range, which is equal to roughly 2000 cycles.

    Larger battery packs due to their very nature reduce the number of necessary cycles to go a certain distance – and this is a chance. Still, quite some testing has to be performed by car makers to ensure durability is up to the expectations of the customers.

    Aspect 3: Costs
    ————————————–
    In the end, with their modules (18650 wired in parallel) Kreisel creates new “compound cells” with 49, 73, 126, 161 Ah. Doing it the Tesla/Kreisel way (with the high number of small cells wired in parallel) looks like a very complicated way of creating cells, which otherwise (typical arrangement with LiFePO4 cells for EV conversions) come in prismatic shape as blocks. These cells may lack the internal TMS and power density, but at least they are cheap to produce with essentially no costs for assembly.

    For BEVs however I believe larger Ah cells make much more sense to get costs down. Tesla is going into that direction with their change from 18650 to 20700 cells. 1,1*1,1*1,1=1,331. Thus, a 33% increase in volume. Still, with around 6,35 Ah each, 2000 to 3000 of the cells are needed even for Model 3.

    Aspect 4: Aftermarket battery upgrades to existing cars
    ——————————————————-
    Keep in mind, that the new pack and the battery management system/charging control must be made to work together. So battery upgrades are not about cells only. All system aspects must be considered when doing the switch. There will be few companies to develop upgrade solutions due to the engineering, testing, approval required. But there may be many shops to do the mere “plumbing” (swapping the pack, eventually swapping cells inside a pack) and re-configuring the BMS with some sort of preconfigured configuration data.

  6. Pedro Lima says:

    Thanks Ralf for an enlightening comment as always.

    I completely agree with you about the 18650 format is not ideal for electric cars, unfortunately high energy density cells aren’t made yet in pouch or prismatic shapes because automakers haven’t shown interest in them. So they are made in 18650 shape for laptops. But this will change, have you seen the new prismatic Samsung SDI 50 Ah cells? They look very small for the amount of energy they can store, they have the size of a smartphone.

    http://pushevs.com/2016/05/07/samsung-sdi-went-to-beijing-motor-show/

  7. Ralf K says:

    I assume from the text, the 50 Ah cells are the size of the 37 Ah cells. This would probably be VDA PHEV2 size.
    I regard it as a result from the distance to the camera lens that the 50Ah cells _appear_ to be small.
    With VDA PHEV2 size (148mm x 91 mm x 26,5 mm) the 50Ah cells would be about 504 Wh/Liter. If they could be packed densely close to each other, this would be roughly the same as the resulting Wh/Liter of the modules of Kreisel electric (36 cell pack – 497 Wh/Liter, 46 cell pack – 513 Wh/Liter). Packing the PHEV2 cells so densely would not leave space for cooling between the cells of each module. I cannot say, whether this will pose a problem to their cycle life.

    BTW: there is the idea to assemble a PHEV2 cell from 10x 18650 wired in parallel internally, see page 82 of:
    http://www.bertrandt.com/fileadmin/data/downloads/00_Unternehmen/2013-02-21_Druck_Ideen_der_Zukunft_B5_.pdf
    (idea by Betrandt for Volkswagen, eventually patented)

    This would be consistent with:
    22 Ah PHEV2 = 10x 2200 mAh 18650
    25 Ah PHEV2 = 10x 2500 mAh 18650
    37 Ah PHEV2 = 10x 3700 mAh 18650

    In case, this scheme would still be performed by PHEV2 cell manufacturers, the 50 Ah cell would contain 10x 5000 mAh 18650 cells. Which would be excellent news. 🙂 So next time you get whatever PHEV2 cell into your hands: open that baby up! Otherwise, maybe finally PHEV2 cells are truely prismatic cells, just as they had been intended to be from the beginning.

  8. Aaron says:

    Batteries in parallel increase current, not voltage. These batteries are in series, not in parallel. Otherwise you would still have a 3.6V pack.

    • Pedro Lima says:

      The cells in the modules are connected in parallel to raise the current. Then the modules are connected in series to raise the voltage. Kreisel’s batteries have cells in parallel and series.

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