Solid state lithium battery technology is the new breakthrough which promises safer batteries with more energy density. Sakti3 has made a lot of noise in our industry last year, but the road to the commercial production takes years of research and billions of dollars in investment. That is why I call Lithium Technology is the anchor one for Electric Cars and Energy Storage: it was in the development from 80s of the last century, billions of dollars are invested in R&D and in production facilities by Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, Saft and others. Now Gigafctories are coming from Tesla and Megafactories from BYD, Foxconn, Boston Power, LG Chem and A123. Now three trillion dollar industries are investing into lithium technology: Electric Cars, Mobile Devices and Energy Utilities - the progress will be very fast here!
Samsung is very active now with solid state lithium batteries as well. Samsung SDI is in a partnership with LG Chem and will be delivering 500 km range lithium batteries to Nissan Leaf and new Audi Q6 Electric SUV.
Another iconic business name joins our lithium battery club. Warren Buffet, Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson will enjoy the company of Sir James Dyson. What is so exciting about the Solid State Lithium batteries? As Elon Musk has told numerous times, we have to see it first in the electric cars to get really excited, but lithium technology is developing very fast.
Ones we have moved into technology space the progress will be very fast. Battery technology depends on advance chemistry and new materials, the reduction in cost is not as dramatic as with chips, but still the major difference to the Oil based ICE technology is that lithium batteries are getting better and cheaper every year. The next tipping point will come with mass market lithium batteries production at Tesla Gigafactory and Megafactories from LG Chem, Foxconn, Boston Power, BYD and A123. Cost of $100 per kWh will bring the magic and mass market for EVs will arrive with Tesla Model 3, GM Bold and Nissan Leaf with 500 km range. Other auto-makers are rushing into the electric space as well and Apple iCar will change landscape of our industry overnight. Lithium is the magic metal at the very heart of this rEVolution. Lithium security of supply is taking the central stage now.
Finally, we have the confirmation about Apple Electric iCar. Now we can prepare ourselves to the overnight rEVolution and mass market for EVs with Apple brand power behind it. We have first Trillion market cap company in the making: Apple has finally found the place where to park its cash and brilliant team of designers and engineers, its powerful branding and distribution channels will bring EVs to the masses. Low cost manufacturing base will help as well, China Yuan devaluation is very timely and you can check on my entries below about Foxconn. This largest producer of iPhones and iPads is building its own Megafactory for mass production of lithium batteries and investing almost one billion dollars in the $15k Electric Car to be produced in China.
Lithium technology is already here, I was always advocating for Apple to buy the time to market and if not buy Tesla Motors outright, than to create the strategic partnership and use Tesla Model 3 power-train. Lithium is the magic metal which is at the heart of this rEVolution. Now we have the tide coming, all cars will be electric.
I will allow myself to put a lot of links today, after writing for years about it, I will celebrate the Steve Jobs' Legacy and Electric iCar is the best tribute to such great visionary. He has inspired Gary Schellenberg and myself to start International Lithium, when electric cars like Tesla were still a dream. Now, thanks to Elon Musk, they are here! Below you can find my thoughts on why, how and when Apple will create the mass market for electric cars.
Mr. Kirill Klip, President, International Lithium Corp. comments, "Our projects are advancing in tandem with rising lithium prices. The lithium supply chain is being stressed even before the commissioning of the Tesla Gigafactory and other megafactories from BYD, Foxconn, Boston Power and LG Chem. Our joint ventures with Ganfeng Lithium demonstrate that cooperation between companies with varying expertise in the raw materials supply chain can work to secure a supply of strategic commodities. In this case, lithium which is necessary for the clean energy initiatives announced by the U.S. and China. These two countries alone will provide mass markets for electric cars and home energy storage units increasing the demand for lithium batteries."
Solid state Lithium-ion batteries offer a safer method of energy storage, but solid state electrolyte use has been limited by the poor conductive nature of such materials - perhaps that's about to change.
A group of researchers have developed a new approach to solid-state electrolytes that would not only be safer, but improve energy density and enable Lithium-ion batteries to perform in lower temperatures.
You wouldn't dream of hitting a lithium-ion battery with a hammer (we hope you wouldn't anyway), but professor of materials science and engineering Gerbrand Ceder says the team's approach will be a real game-changer.
"All of the fires you've seen, with Boeing, Tesla, and others, they are all electrolyte fires," stated the Professor. "The lithium itself is not flammable in the state it's in in these batteries. [With a solid electrolyte] there's no safety problem - you could throw it against the wall, drive a nail through it - there's nothing there to burn."
As we mentioned yesterday, while fires are rare in Lithium-ion batteries, they can and do happen. Worse still, Li-ion batteries experiencing thermal runaway have been known to result in explosions. It's this volatility that means it's not a great idea to leave your cell phone charging overnight.
The team's initial research has indicated superionic lithium-ion conductors; compounds of lithium, germanium, phosphorus, and sulfur, are up to the task of creating solid state electrolyte and with further investigation, even more effective materials may be identified.
Solid-state electrolyte will also allow for a 20 to 30 percent improvement in power density - enabling a significant boost in capacity to everything from cell phones to home battery storage units.
The research is part of an alliance between MIT and the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology. The work to date has been reported in the journal Nature Materials.
Last year, researchers at Sakti3, a spinout of the University of Michigan, claimed to have developed a solid state electrolyte lithium-ion battery that could double energy density for 20% of the cost. Details of the materials and construction of such a battery have not yet been released.
The race to develop a commercially viable solid state Lithium-ion battery continues - and for the winner who brings such a product to market first, it could mean billions of dollars."
Disclosure: I am/we are long TRRXF, ILHMF.