LG Chem and Sion Power partnership
LG Chem acquires rights to Sion Power technology.
Sion Power is specialized in lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery with plans to offer high energy solutions to various products, including electric vehicles. The electric vehicles part is where the partnership with LG Chem can shine, since LG Chem has the experience in mass production of battery cells and a long list of automakers as clients.
Sion Power doesn’t produce vaporware, their cells have been tested in the real world for a while, especially on drones.
Recently the company has announced the following:
“Based on Sion Power’s 20 Ahr cell design, Sion Power’s Licerion®-Ion system has achieved 400 Wh/kg, 700 Wh/L and 350 cycles under 1C discharge conditions. Details of this remarkable achievement will be presented by Dr. Yuriy Mikhaylik, Sion Power’s Director of Materials, at the upcoming ECS meeting in Honolulu, October 2-7, 2016.”
If we look at the specs we might think that 350 cycles at 1 C discharge is not enough, but in reality the high energy density compensates it in the real world.
Let’s compare to the first generation LG Chem cells used in Renault Zoe R240:
LG Chem: 275 Wh/L and 157 Wh/kg
Sion Power: 700 Wh/L (255 % more) and 400 Wh/kg (255 % more)
It’s curious that the volumetric and gravimetric energy density increase is the same.
This means that the battery capacity would increase from 25,92 kWh to 66 kWh. While the NEDC range would increase from 240 km to approximately 612 km. A lot better than the recently announced increase to 400 km in the ZE 40 battery. Let’s consider that the real range is 3/4 of the NEDC, then we get 459 km range in the real world. The 350 charge/discharge cycles would be enough to make 160.650 km. After that even if the car only had 70 % of the initial battery capacity, it would be still good to make 312 km per charge.
Yet I would like to know how many cycles the Sion Power 20 Ah cell can handle at a lower discharge rate like 0,5 C and a higher like 2 C.
More info on the first generation LG Chem cells used in Renault Zoe R240 in here.
These cells will be available by December 2017.
“Sion Power is in the process of expanding its facilities in Tucson, AZ for the production of prototype large format Licerion® Ion cells. These cells will be available by December 2017. In the interim, Sion Power is evaluating potential volume manufacturing partners to supplement in-house capacities.”
It’s still unclear if LG Chem thinks that the lithium-sulfur technology is ready for electric cars, or if requires more improvements. Maybe this is the kind of technology we’ll see improved and unveiled at the new LG Chem battery cell plant in Poland, that starts production in the second half of 2017.