Battery technology: what’s coming soon?

Battery technology: what’s coming soon?
Key steps for energy density improvement by Solid Power

Next year, SK innovation and LG Chem will produce the first generation of NCM 811 battery cells to be used in electric cars. However, this is just the beginning of the end for the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine).

The next step will be to replace the graphite anode with lithium, this is what some companies such as Solid Power or SolidEnergy Systems promise to deliver soon. Both of these companies have ties with A123 Systems and I consider them reliable. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that they are the only ones working on this technology, it just means that they can talk about it openly – without undermining current sales. Why would LG Chem or SK innovation talk about future improved NCM 811 battery cells and osborning themselves, when they are about to start selling the first generation?!


The next generation NCM 811 battery cells – to arrive by 2020 -, will not only have thin lithium anodes, but also semi-solid state electrolytes (such as demonstrated by SolidEnergy Systems) or even solid state electrolytes (such as demonstrated by Solid Power), this will help to increase safety and lifespan. A battery pack made with solid state battery cells will also be lighter and simpler, since it won’t require a TMS (Thermal Management System).


SolidEnergy Systems is confident that it’ll start producing this new battery technology for consumer products as soon as next year. As for electric cars, we’ll need to wait for 2020 to see it implemented. I expect that some big battery cell maker will buy the production rights of this technology for further improvements, like LG Chem did with Sion Power.


SolidEnergy Systems battery comparison


Let’s see what this kind of energy density (1.200 Wh/L) means for electric cars.


For example, the best selling electric car in Europe, the Renault Zoe could get a 113 kWh battery, enough for roughly a 1.047 km range in NEDC, or 700 km in the real world. While the Nissan Leaf could get a 90 kWh battery and an EPA range of 318 miles (512 km).


To sum up, solid state electrolytes and lithium anodes are the battery enhancements you can expect to see implemented real soon and will help to further make ICE obsolete. Lithium-sulfur battery is also promising, especially in areas where weight is more important than volume, such as Aeronautics (electric planes).



More info:

Pedro Lima

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Hi, Pedro.
I read in your linked post on Sion Power that the Zoe had initially the first generation LG Chem batteries.
Than is this 41 kWh the second generation?
Next year they’ll start producing the NCM 811. So that could be called a third generation?
This last one should be the one for the 2019 Leaf? (60 kWh)
If so, do you think it will find its way in the Zoe too? (also about 60 kWh, then) When?

Lots of questions…

Thanks !

Hi Alok. The current 41 kWh battery in the Zoe isn’t NCM 811, it’s probably 622. Generation is just how we name it and can differ from person to person. For example I named as first generation NCM battery cells the conventional ones that used only graphite in the anode, while the second generation had a bit of silicon to improve energy density. Now with the NCM 811 battery cells, I refer to this first kind – with silicon-graphite anode – as a first generation, while the second generation will have a lithium metal anode. The Nissan Leaf e-Plus will… Read more »

Martin S.

You wrote: “The Nissan Leaf e-Plus will have what I call first generation NCM 811 battery cells.”
1. I assume this car will be the sales release about end of 2018 with about 60 kWh, and the “Gen1 Li-ion” integrated, right?
2. “The other electric cars that we can expect to use NCM 811 battery cells already next year are from the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group.” You mean for example the Kona, sales release also about end of 2018, in the first edition, or only in the second edition, maybe 2019 or later..?

Hi Martin.

Yes, the Hyundai Kona EV is expect to get a 64,2 kWh battery already next year, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nissan Leaf e-Plus gets exactly the same one at the same time.

Martin S.

Hi Pedro,
thanks for this good information! Do you know also about TMS (Thermal Management System) at the Kona and Nissan Leaf 64,2 kWh e-Plus. Is a good water cooled solution integrated, or only air cooled (Ioniq only from the passenger inside air)
2. Do you know also the battery voltage? The trend on the fast charging points will be go to 800 V, right?

Hi Martin.

While it’s too early to know for sure I think that the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Nissan Leaf e-Plus and Hyundai Kona EV will share the same battery structure. As you can see in the link below, the Bolt EV battery has “liquid active thermal control”.

The battery will be 96s3p (96 x 3,75 V = 360 V) and limited to 400 V charging.

The 800 V systems will first be used in luxury electric cars like the Porsche Mission E and eventually a new Tesla Roadster.

Dmitry Pelegov

Reading about using metal lithium, please mention that words “cycleability” and “power” is usually lost. Especially cycleability.

That’s true, but with higher range, cyclebility is no longer a problem.

For example, a Renault Zoe with that battery would have a realistic range of 700 km, after 120 cycles (84.000 km) if the battery losses 10 % of its capacity, it will then have a 630 km range. As you see, with higher range you don’t need high cyclebility.

Dmitry Pelegov

In general, range increasing does decrease the required cycleability. But how much will be range increased? 20-30% is rather optimistic evaluation, I’m afraid. So, range about 800 cycles will be, maybe, satisfactory. But not few hundred. And increased range will not compensate both high power and low price. For mass adoption we need cheap batteries and EV, but not extra 50 miles. Even fast charging, as for me, is more important than higher range…

Higher energy density means lower costs. You can have more capacity from the same (weight) raw materials. And from this perspective (cost) the battery quoted by Rafael is even more amazing (943 Wh/kg).

Dmitry Pelegov

1. Raw material cost is just a part of cell cost.
2. In all-solid-state battery you have the same amount of positive electrode, more expensive (I guess) electrolyte, and more complicated production. I can’t see lower price right now.
3. One day it can became cheaper than conventional batteries, but when? Within 10 years? 15 years? We need EV market share increasing today. So low price and fast charging 🙂


Hola Pedro Lima. En Green car congress han publicado un articulo muy interesante sobre una celda de Li-S con una energia especifica de 930wh/kg y densidad de potencia de 1.300w/kg y todo esto en 500 ciclos y a tadas de carga y descarga de 1,3C. Estoy bastante impresionado con esta celda que de momento solo se encuentra en laboratorio. ¿Que opinión le merece esta celda Pedro lima?.

Hi Rafael, thanks for sharing that.

It looks very promising, but we need the data to be confirmed by independent labs.

Here it is for anybody who wants to read it:


Hi Pedro,
I would like to thank you for your quality articles. Please keep these in depth articles about battery technology coming even if they are 6 months apart.

Thanks Lee, I will.


Yes, great article Pedro!! Thanks a lot!!!


Hi Pedro, thanks for the articles about batteries, they’re very interesting.

I’m curious about cycleabilty and the current LEAF 30kwh batteries. There are some commenters who maintain that the 30kwh chemistry isn’t as cycleable and therefore degrades too fast. Although I’ve just leased a new 30kwh LEAF, I’m not too concerned about it since I live in Canada and will be able to avoid high temperatures, and I’m unlikely to put more than 30,000km on it before the lease ends.

Where does the 30kwh chemistry fit in the spectrum of batteries?


Hi Marcel.

The chemistry in the 30 kWh battery (NCM) is much better than what the previous 24 kWh battery had (LMO) and that’s why Nissan increased its warranty. You have nothing to worry about, especially since you live in a cold place.

You can see the differences between NCM/NMC and LMO here.

Nissan started with the LMO chemistry only because manganese is very cheap, however it later learned that cheap became expensive – with all those batteries Nissan had to replace due to extreme degradation during the warranty period.


Ok thanks! I’m looking forward to seeing what’s available when my lease is up in 2020. Maybe something that can tow a small trailer so we can take it on camping trips etc. and not have to rent an ICE For those situations. The upcoming Kia Niro looks like a front runner right now, and the e-nv200 would also work if sold here, but there are a lot of new EVs in the works. We’ll just have to see about pricing. And hopefully we get better fast chargers here in Ontario soon too. We’ve been adding them, but many are… Read more »


Degradation data collected so far by LEAF owners shows that the 30 kWh has *much worse* degradation even than the 24 kWh one…

It looks like they will all break down long before warranty expires, i.e. Nissan will be in deep shit.

Daniel Walser

Very interesting article! Still I have two questions: 1. Why would a battery pack made with solid state battery cells not require a TMS (Thermal Management System)? 2. Will these technologies alse be applied for cylindrical batteries? Thanks.

Thanks Daniel.

Check out this link: (go to technology).

Yes, there’s no reason why not.


I see nothing there about not needing a TMS?

ismail tasdelen

yaw heeee heeee bitecek

antony stewart

No demo batteries have been filmed higher than 300wh which are bigger than a matchbox and have real investor interest. So far it’s all investment talk and no actual videos of any products. the current curve puts us at 320Wh in 2020, maximum. its same as solar, but more difficult. it doesnt jump in steps from 255 to 400 in less than 5 years.


hi pedro, very interesting. just couple of questions… when do you expect NCM 811 will be market standard and if NCA will be replaced by NCM? additional… can you help me in finding references about material composition (Ni, Co, Li, etc) of a typical 811 battery? thanks

Hi Massimo.

Sorry for the late reply.

Here you have it:


Tesla made it very clear recently that they have no intention of moving away from NCA for automotive batteries, as their current generation of cells already has a significantly lower cobalt content than the upcoming MNC-811 cells; and it’s only going to improve further…

Considering that nickel-rich MNC cells seem to be running into some of the same problems as NCA, while still remaining behind in capacity and nickel contents, it’s rather surprising to me that NCA is regarded as an outsider.