Comparison of different EV batteries in 2020

Audi e-tron battery

During the first years after I started this blog in 2015 I often wrote articles demonstrating that legacy automakers weren’t taking electric cars seriously. They were actively trying to prove that electric cars didn’t work by selling overpriced cars with low range and blamed battery technology, when they weren’t even using the best battery technologies available at the time.

Back then, Tesla was the only automaker using the most energy dense batteries available, which were NCA battery cells in cylindrical form. Most automakers were using LMO battery cells in their electric cars, which are far from great…

 

Different battery cathode chemistries comparison

 

When automakers – pushed by stricter emissions regulations – finally started to get a little more serious about electric cars, battery cell makers began to develop NCM high energy density cells in prismatic and pouch forms, especially made to use in electric cars. Until then, the most interested in high energy density battery cells were laptop manufacturers, that’s why they were made in cylindrical form.

Now in 2020 the scenario is very different from what we had when I started this blog in 2015. Legacy automakers are actually selling electric cars with good batteries. Most of them are now using NCM 523 or NCM 622 battery cells and prepare to upgrade to even more energy dense cells such as NCM 712, NCM 811 and even NCMA.

 

Performance of different advanced battery cell cathodes

 

NCMA combines the best characteristics of NCM and NCA chemistries and represents a solid improvement.

 

Anyway, right now it seems that two cathode chemistries will dominate the EV battery world in the near future. The NCMA cathode which offers the best energy density and the cobalt-free LFMP cathode which offers the best cost. A smart strategy for automakers would be to offer the same electric car with two different battery packs, one optimized for range and another for cost.

 

Now that I gave you a bit of context let’s move to the interesting part and compare some batteries of popular electric cars.

 

Volkswagen e-Golf

2019 Volkswagen e-Golf

 

  • Total battery capacity: 35,8 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 32 kWh (89 %)
  • Battery weight: 349 kg
  • Battery energy density: 103 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 264 (88s3p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 333 (also known as NCM 111)
  • Manufacturer: Samsung SDI
  • TMS: passive air cooling

 

NCM 333 means that the cathode besides lithium contains nickel, cobalt and manganese in a composition ratio of 3:3:3 (equal parts), which is the same for NCM 111.

 

Volkswagen e-up, SEAT Mii Electric and Skoda CITIGOe iV

New ล KODA CITIGOe iV

 

  • Total battery capacity: 36,8 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 32,3 kWh (88 %)
  • Battery weight: 248 kg
  • Battery energy density: 148 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 168 (84s2p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • TMS: passive air cooling

 

Renault Twingo ZE

New 2020 Renault Twingo ZE side-rear

 

  • Total battery capacity: 22 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 21,3 kWh (97 %)
  • Battery weight: 165 kg
  • Battery energy density: 133 Wh/kg
  • Chemistry: NCM 712 (not confirmed, just my guess)
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

Renault ZOE

New Renault ZOE in Glacier White colour

 

ZE 40 battery of old generation Renault ZOE

  • Total battery capacity: 44,1 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 41 kWh (93 %)
  • Battery weight: 305 kg
  • Battery energy density: 145 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 192 (96s2p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • TMS: active air cooling

 

ZE 50 battery of new generation Renault ZOE

  • Total battery capacity: 54,66 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 52 kWh (95 %)
  • Battery weight: 326 kg
  • Battery energy density: 168 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 192 (96s2p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 712
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • TMS: active air cooling

 

Note: In the new generation Renault ZOE the ZE 40 battery is just a ZE 50 battery with capacity software-limited by the BMS (Battery Management System). It’s not the same ZE 40 battery that was available in the old generation.

In the new generation Renault ZOE the ZE 40 battery is just a ZE 50 battery with capacity limited by the BMS

 

LG Chem already stated that it reserves the NCM 811 chemistry to cylindrical cells and pouch cells get NCM 712 first, then NCMA in 2022.

 

BMW i3

BMW i3

 

Old generation 94 Ah battery

  • Total battery capacity: 33,77 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 27,2 kWh (80 %)
  • Battery weight: 256 kg
  • Battery energy density: 132 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 96 (96s1p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 333 (also known as NCM 111)
  • Manufacturer: Samsung SDI
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

New generation 120 Ah battery

  • Total battery capacity: 42,2 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 37,9 kWh (90 %)
  • Battery weight: 278 kg
  • Battery energy density: 152 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 96 (96s1p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: Samsung SDI
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

Peugeot e-208 and Opel Corsa-e

Peugeot e-208

 

  • Total battery capacity: 50 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 46 kWh (92 %)
  • Battery weight: 356 kg
  • Battery energy density: 140 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 216 (108s2p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 523 (not confirmed, just my guess)
  • Manufacturer: CATL
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

Nissan LEAF

2018 Nissan Leaf on the road

 

40 kWh battery

  • Total battery capacity: 39,46 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 36 kWh (91 %)
  • Battery weight: 303 kg
  • Battery energy density: 130 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 192 (96s2p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 523
  • Manufacturer: Envision AESC
  • TMS: passive air cooling

 

62 kWh battery

  • Total battery capacity: 62 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 56 kWh (90 %)
  • Battery weight: 410 kg (estimation)
  • Battery energy density: 151 Wh/kg (estimation)
  • Cells: 288 (96s3p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 523
  • Manufacturer: Envision AESC
  • TMS: passive air cooling

 

Both battery packs use the same NCM 523 battery cells, but AESC did manage to maximize the disposition of the cells to fit more in the same space. With 288 cells the bigger battery pack is discharged at lower C-rates, which also helps to increase the current efficiency (coulombic efficiency), otherwise its capacity would just be 59,19 kWh (39,46 kWh x 3 / 2).

 

Chevrolet Bolt EV and Opel Ampera-e

2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV

 

Old generation

  • Total battery capacity: 62,2 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 58 kWh (93 %)
  • Battery weight: 435 kg
  • Battery energy density: 143 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 288 (96s3p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

New 2020 generation

  • Total battery capacity: 68 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 64 kWh (94 %)
  • Battery weight: 430 kg
  • Battery energy density: 158 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 288 (96s3p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 712 (not confirmed)
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

The battery capacity advertised by Chevrolet is neither total nor usable, is something in between…

Regarding the new 2020 generation, it is likely that there was a change to NCM 712 battery cells and although the increase in energy density seems minimal, there is an explanation. Theย 2020 Chevrolet Bolt EV now has the โ€œcold weather battery packโ€ that according to GM allows 150 % faster DC charging in cold weather.

This “cold weather battery pack” means better insulation and heating of the battery but is likely to result in extra weight. Explaining why the energy density of the battery pack only increased from 143 to 158 Wh/kg, while in the Renault ZOE, the upgrade to NCM 712 battery cells resulted in an energy density increase from 145 to 168 Wh/kg.

 

Hyundai Kona Electric

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

 

Long range version

  • Total battery capacity: 67,5 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 64 kWh (94 %)
  • Battery weight: 452 kg
  • Battery energy density: 149 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 294 (98s3p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

This battery pack is made with the same LG Chem LGX E63 cells that we find in the Renault ZE 40 battery, but instead of 192 cells (96s2p), Hyundai uses 294 cells (98s3p).

 

Hyundai IONIQ Electric

Hyundai IONIQ Electric

 

  • Total battery capacity: 40,4 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 38,3 kWh (94 %)
  • Battery weight: 359 kg (without battery heater) and 363 kg (with battery heater)
  • Battery energy density: 112,4 Wh/kg (without battery heater) and 111,2 Wh/kg (with battery heater)
  • Cells: 176 (88s2p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

This battery pack is made with the same LG Chem LGX E63 cells that we find in the Renault ZE 40 battery, but instead of 192 cells (96s2p), Hyundai uses 176 cells (88s2p).

 

Kia e-Soul

Kia e-Soul

 

  • Total battery capacity: 67,5 kWh (estimation)
  • Usable battery capacity: 64 kWh (94 %)
  • Battery weight: 457 kg
  • Battery energy density: 148 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 294 (98s3p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: SK Innovation
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

Kia e-Niro

Kia e-Niro

 

  • Total battery capacity: 67,5 kWh (estimation)
  • Usable battery capacity: 64 kWh (94 %)
  • Battery weight: 457 kg
  • Battery energy density: 148 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 294 (98s3p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: SK Innovation
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

Jaguar I-PACE

Jaguar I-PACE

 

  • Total battery capacity: 90 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 84,7 kWh (94 %)
  • Battery weight: 603 kg
  • Battery energy density: 149 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 432 (108s4p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

Jaguar uses the same LG Chem LGX N2.1 battery cells that we find in the old generation battery pack of the Chevrolet Bolt EV. But instead of 288 cells (96s3p), Jaguar uses 432 cells (108s4p) in their battery packs.

 

Mercedes-Benz EQC

Mercedes-Benz EQC in white

 

  • Total battery capacity: 85 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 80 kWh (94 %)
  • Battery weight: 652 kg
  • Battery energy density: 130 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 384 (96s4p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem or SK Innovation (there are conflicting reports)
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

Audi e-tron 55 quattro

Audi e-tron 55 quattro

 

  • Total battery capacity: 95 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 86,5 kWh (91 %)
  • Battery weight: 700 kg
  • Battery energy density: 136 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 432 (108s4p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

Porsche Taycan Turbo S

Porsche Taycan Turbo S

 

  • Total battery capacity: 93,4 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 83,7 kWh (87 %)
  • Battery weight: 630 kg
  • Battery energy density: 148 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 396 (198s2p)
  • Chemistry: NCM 622
  • Manufacturer: LG Chem
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

 

Long range version

  • Total battery capacity: 102,4 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 98,4 kWh (96 %)
  • Battery weight: 630 kg
  • Battery energy density: 162 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 8.256 (96s86p)
  • Chemistry: NCA
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

 

Long range version

  • Total battery capacity: 102,4 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 98,4 kWh (96 %)
  • Battery weight: 630 kg
  • Battery energy density: 162 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 8.256 (96s86p)
  • Chemistry: NCA
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 production version

 

Long range version

  • Total battery capacity: 80,5 kWh
  • Usable battery capacity: 76 kWh (94 %)
  • Battery weight: 478 kg
  • Battery energy density: 168 Wh/kg
  • Cells: 4.416 (96s46p)
  • Chemistry: NCA
  • Manufacturer: Panasonic
  • TMS: active liquid cooling

 

 

Expected incoming upgrades

  1. Envision AESC that supplies battery cells to Nissan will upgrade its cells from NCM 523 to NCM 811 during this year. Nissan has the chance to upgrade the LEAF with more energy dense battery cells and finally give it an active TMS (Temperature Management System) to properly handle fast charging and prevent excessive capacity degradation.
  2. Hyundai could upgrade their battery cells to NCM 712 already this year, or wait until 2022 to get the NCMA cells from LG Chem instead.
  3. Next year Samsung SDI will bring its own NCM 811 battery cells and the BMW i3 will probably be the first electric car to get them. The battery capacity will likely increase around 10 kWh from the current 42,2 kWh to 52 kWh.

 

While I think that’s important to keep pushing for more energy dense batteries that give electric cars the best range possible, I also think that’s important to make them affordable. This is why we also need cobalt-free batteries like LFP and LFMP. Allowing customers to choose which kind of battery they want (maximized for range or cost) is the strategy that I think will become norm in the near future.

 

 

More info:

https://fueleconomy.gov/feg/download.shtml

https://www.emove360.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/AVL-Series-Battery-Benchmarking.pdf

https://www.kivi.nl/uploads/media/5b23b49ab2834/11.00-Priatherm-Batenburg.pdf

https://cii-resource.com/cet/AABE-03-17/Presentations/BMGT/Prochazka_Wenzel.pdf

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/atoms/files/17_-_tesla_-_success_story_or_hype_ver_3_deleon.pdf

https://electricrevs.com/2018/03/09/jaguar-and-chevy-have-lg-in-common/

Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. Iโ€™m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.