NCM 811: SK innovation vs. LG Chem

SK innovation versus LG Chem

There are two major battery cell makers that promised NCM 811 EV battery cells for 2018. They are SK innovation and LG Chem. Let’s recapture what we already know about it.

As you already know, currently most EV batteries have NCM 622 cathodes. These cathodes are made with 60 percent of nickel, 20 percent of cobalt and the remaining 20 percent is manganese.

 

NCM Product Overview by BASF in November 4, 2014

 

On the other hand, NCM 811 cathodes are made with 80 percent of nickel, 10 percent of cobalt and the remaining 10 percent is manganese.

With higher content of nickel in the cathode, we get more energy dense battery cells, but we lose some thermal stability. Remember that batteries are always a compromise between many variables, such as power density, energy density, cost and lifespan. We can’t have the best of every world.

Nevertheless, even with decreased thermal stability NCM 811 battery cells are a breakthrough, the lower use of a scarce raw material (cobalt) is essential to increase worldwide battery production.

While the first generation NCM 811 battery cells will have common anodes made with graphite and a bit of silicon to increase energy density, the second generation will get lithium metal anodes combined solid or semi-solid electrolytes. First the evolution in 2018, then in 2020 comes the revolution in battery technology…

But what does that mean in the real world?

We’ll start with SK innovation, since it’s the battery cell maker that gave us more details about its own NCM 811 cells.

  1. NCM 622: 400 km of range
  2. NCM 811 (first gen): 500 km of range (25 % increase)
  3. NCM 811 (second gen): 700 km of range (75 % increase)

1. SK innovation says that with its current NCM 622 battery cells automakers could build electric cars with 400 km of EPA range. For example, the Chevrolet Bolt EV with NCM 622 battery cells from LG Chem achieves 238 miles (382 km) of EPA range.

2. With the first generation of NCM 811 battery cells, SK innovation says that the range increases by 100 km (25 %). Which means that the volumetric energy density increase of the battery cells should be similar. Last year, the company announced that these cells will “start to appear in electric vehicles starting in the third quarter of 2018.”

The first electric car expected to get them is the electric EQ SUV from Mercedes-Benz that is precisely advertised with roughly 500 km of range and a battery capacity of “more than 70 kWh”.

Mercedes-Benz Generation EQ

 

3. The second generation of NCM 811 battery cells won’t arrive before 2020. There’s no point of using much time to discuss it now in this article.

 

Now that we’ve seen what SK innovation promises to deliver with its NCM 811 battery cells, what about LG Chem?

Unfortunately LG Chem didn’t revealed a lot. The only thing that the company said was that it would be the first to deliver NCM 811 battery cells for electric cars, as a response to SK innovation’s announcement.

If LG Chem delivers what it has promised, the company will start supplying its NCM 811 battery cells for electric cars during the second quarter of the current year. We know some electric cars with LG chem batteries and start of production scheduled for this period, such as the Hyundai Kona Electric, Kia Niro EV and Jaguar I-PACE. This is why I believe that they will be produced with this new battery chemistry. The Nissan Leaf e-Plus and Audi e-tron quattro will soon follow.

However, until we know the volumetric energy density of the batteries of those electric cars, we can’t say of sure that they are NCM 811. Especially since the already announced gravimetric energy density (141,3 Wh/kg) of Hyundai Kona EV’s battery doesn’t represent a major improvement.

Nonetheless, we should acknowledge that’s always easier to increase volumetric energy density than gravimetric. That’s why LG Chem was able to upgrade the Renault Zoe’s battery capacity from 23,3 to 41 kWh while maintaining the same volume, but the weight increased slightly.

Anyway, we’re done for today. This was the roundup of the current situation of NCM 811 EV battery cells. The next months will be revealing. Stay tuned!

 

 

More info:

http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3037833

http://www.theinvestor.co.kr/view.php?ud=20170908000616

https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mercedes-benz/next/e-mobility/mercedes-benz-generation-eq-show-car-into-the-future-with-zero-emissions/

Pedro Lima

I grew up on a tough neighborhood and am not a privileged guy, my true nature is violent, even if I try to hide it because I'm not proud of it. I try to overcome my violent nature by learning more about geeky things like batteries, but I'm far from being an expert and don't pretend to be one. I also graduated in Sociology, to learn more about others and pacify myself.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Thanks a lot for your updates in news. Could you get an interview with http://www.solidenergysystems.com/ ?
    They claim they are producing
    450+ Wh/kg
    1200+Wh/l
    2x the energy
    cells and expect to get them to EV mobile world on 2020. On 2018 it is expected for mobile phones.

    1. I contacted SES last year and they were behind schedule. Nonetheless, I’ll stay tuned for any new developments.

      1. This just doesn’t feel right. We have seen many of these in the past. If they really have the right stuff they would not have a website like this and would be partnering with, or selling to, today’s major players.

        http://www.solidenergysystems.com/about/

        Here the CEO said in mid 2017: “With cellphones and watch phones, that (commercialization) will happen in 2018. With electric cars, it will happen in 2020,” Hu said.

        http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2017/08/133_235645.html

        I doubt it.

  2. improving the volumetric or the gravimetric is exactly the same thing. For example let consider the volume of the zoe batterie at 1m^3 and the weight of 500 kg. for the first generation of Zoe 22 kWh battery pack, this make 22 kWh/m3 (volumetric density) and 44 kWh/T (per ton). Now with the new Zoe 41 battery pack, the volumetric density is 41 kWh/m3 and the gravimetric density is 82 kWh/T. The improvement in % is respectively 86.36% (volumetric) and 86.36 % (gravimetric)

      1. yes, but this 21 kg could come from the reinforcement of the rack system or additional features on the battery pack (cooling equipment).

        for me improving the volumetric energy density means an improvement of the gravimetric energy density because both are linked. the difference may come from the need of reinforcement of rack system or adding management thermal system. more dense cells equals to more thermal changes.

    1. It sure seems like there are a bunch of technologies that are very close to pushing Li-ion batteries past the point where they can make BEVS competitive with ICE cars. This one, the graphene coated silicon microspheres, and some other ones I can’t remember offhand.

  3. I read somewhere that Kia Niro EV will get SK NCM 811 battery pack.

    1. It gets the same 64 kWh battery as the Hyundai Kona Electric.

  4. I wonder what battery chemistry will the Mission E use as if I understood well increasing energy density goes hand in hand with decreased thermal stability. So how would they combine the breakthrough fast charging capacity (350 kWh ?) while keeping battery weight in check (as one can expect from Porsche). I understand Porsche will be able to use high voltage for charging (800 v) but that has to do with reducing cables thickness and does not address the issue of fast charging/battery thermal stability, or ?

    1. It might get the second generation NCM 811 battery cells with solid electrolyte. It’s still too early to tell.

      1. Pedro,
        here is a Hungarian article about the start of the construction of the new SK Innovation battery plant at Komarom, Hungary:
        https://autopro.hu/beszallitok/Mar-epiti-akkumulatorgyarat-Komaromban-a-del-koreai-SK/24772/

        It has an interesting sentence ~:
        “the representatives of BMW, Daimler-Benz, Ferrari, Hyundai and Renault were greeted by name”.
        So these manufacturers are surely interested about the new SK Innovation batteries.

        and an other nice info:
        “Yoon Yea Sun, chair of the battery business, said the plant would be 430,000 square meters. Mass production will start in 2020, with a capacity of 7.5 GWh, which will serve up to 250,000 cars. The construction of the second phase is triggered according to the orders, and its capacity corresponds to the first phase.”
        So if everything would happen positively, then the factory could produce 15GWh battery annually.
        Add to this value the Samsung SDI, and the GS Yuasa future capacities :)))
        An EV heaven is coming :)))

      2. That’s interesting. Thanks for sharing it.

    2. They may have even a better thermal management system than Tesla’s.

      The Tesla system is better that everyone else’s present system, but it can be made still better, however that will also cost money. Also by making it chill/heat the batteries ahead of time it can be made better in charging and discharging power.

  5. “I wonder what battery chemistry will the Mission E use ”

    Didn’t they have a recent press release which mentioned a deal with CATL et al? Mission e sounds like it fits with CATL’s EnerSpeedybproduct line.

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