Kokam and A123 Systems are two iconic cell makers. Even if today they aren’t very active, when one of them say something you got to listen.
Kokam recently introduced second generation NMC cells. They call them Ultra High Energy NMC.
The company has put the new cells in a drone and said this:
“In other words, drones with our battery will have 20% longer operating time, more space and less weight than if they used the Panasonic battery used in Teslas.”
What are exactly second generation NMC cells? They are basically NMC cells with the anode improved with silicon to increase the energy density.
Kokam, like LG Chem, has the new generation NMC cells in pouch format, Samsung SDI uses the prismatic design. Both, pouch and prismatic formats make the task of building a battery pack much easier than using many tiny cells of the 18650 type. Tesla Motors is currently using the 18650 Panasonic cells because until second generation NMC cells appeared, they were the ones with the best energy density.
Let’s take a look to what the Kokam’s Ultra High Energy NMC cells have to offer:
551 Wh/L and 265 Wh/kg
They have the Ultra High Energy NMC cells in three different capacities, 12 Ah, 26 Ah and 150 Ah. Given the dimensions, the 26 Ah cell is probably the most proper for EVs.
Second generation NMC cells is not a future technology. It’s already here. A lot of Android smartphones with big batteries already use it. The 120 Ah cell that Samsung SDI is always showing and will be used in a future BMW i3 is also a second generation NMC cell.
A Bonus is the fact I noticed in Kokam’s website front page there is a picture of my favorite concept electric car. The Opel Rak-e. A battery pack made by 96 cells with 26 Ah each would be perfect. The cells would only weigh 35,52 kg and it would have a capacity of 9,36 kWh (96 x 26 Ah x 3,75 V).
Because of the low weight and great aerodynamics the small 9,36 kWh battery could be enough for real 100 miles (161 km) range. Here you have it, an affordable EV, perfect as a commuter car.
As an example let’s look at the Renault Zoe:
The battery has 192 cells, each with 36 Ah capacity. 192 x 36 Ah x 3,75 V = 25,92 kWh
The energy density is 157 Wh/kg and 275 Wh/L.
Kokam’s cells are 265 Wh/kg and 551 Wh/L, this means it could double the capacity while maintaining the same volume and the weight would only increase by 18 %.
Looking forward to see LG Chem and Samsung SDI new NMC cells. SK innovation might also have something new to show soon.
The future is now.