Before going to the new battery, let’s see the characteristics of the older one.
You’ll find this video lecture from Renault very interesting.
First generation battery:
- Total weight is 290 kg (280 kg are quoted in the video, but in every other source is 290 kg)
- Total capacity is 25,92 kWh (192 x 36 Ah x 3,75 V = 25,92 kWh)
- Available capacity is 23,3 kWh
- 192 cells, each with 36 Ah nominal capacity and 3,75 V nominal voltage
- Total cell weight is 165,12 kg (192 x 0,86 kg = 165,12 kg)
Second generation battery:
- Total weight is 305 kg
- Total capacity is 45,61 kWh (estimation by knowing the usable capacity)
- Available capacity is 41 kWh
- 192 cells, each with 63,35 Ah nominal capacity (estimation) and 3,75 V nominal voltage
- Total cell weight is 180,12 kg (estimation by knowing the total battery weight)
The total battery capacity can be even higher, because last year a LG Chem worker told me that the new cells were 65 Ah, not 63,35 Ah that I estimated in this exercise, as you can see here. If the real capacity of the cells is 65 Ah, this give the battery a total 46,8 kWh capacity.
My considerations about the second generation battery.
While the usable battery capacity increased 75 %, the total cell weight was only increased by 9 %. Why is this important?
The new battery cells only have 9 % more raw materials than the older ones, but since the capacity was increased by 75 %, this means that the kWh cost was heavily reduced. This is why more energy dense cells not only increase electric cars range but also decrease the kWh cost of their batteries.
I’m not sure, but if the Chevrolet Bolt EV uses the same cells, the total battery capacity can be as much as 68,415 kWh (45,61 kWh / 2 x 3). Remember that the Chevy Bolt’s battery has 288 cells (96s3p) instead of 192 cells (96s2p) used by the Renault Zoe – and also probably by the upcoming Nissan Micra EV.
What can we expect for the future?
If you saw the lecture video in the beginning of this article you already know that Renault’s next planned step for the Zoe is approximately 600 km NEDC range, but only by 2020. This is exactly what is possible with the new technology acquired from Sion Power by LG Chem, as you can see it here.
It seems that automakers are waiting for 2020 to release electric cars with 600 km NEDC range (450 km in the real world). This was recently made clear by Volkswagen when the company said that the electric car inspired by the I.D. concept will be available by 2020 and priced “on a par with comparably powerful and well-equipped Golf models”.
What do you think? Is this second generation battery technology enough to make electric cars mainstream? Or we’ll have to wait for the third generation in 2020 to further increase range and reduce the kWh cost?