By on January 12, 2017

Car Battery

Earlier this week, Samsung’s SDI battery subsidiary announced a new cell designed for use in electric vehicles that will supposedly improve maximum range and possess a cutting-edge quick charge capacity.

Exhibited for the first time at the North American International Auto Show, the battery comes hot on the heels of Tesla and Panasonic’s own ultra-dense “2170 Cell” planned for use on the Model 3.

While Samsung didn’t elaborate on a specific testing platform, it claims the new battery should permit a range of 372 miles on a single charge, with an 80 percent restoration after a 20 minutes quick charge.

Korea’s tech giant also showcased an “integrated battery module” concept that, interestingly enough, makes use of the same cylindrical 21mm by 70mm format used by Tesla. This unverified tech is claimed to yield a 10-percent decrease in the number of units required, saving weight and offering better overall efficiency.

While Tesla makes its power cells in-house, Samsung plans to sell its new technology to “U.S. automobile startups,” meaning Lucid Motors and Faraday Future.

Still, the partially conceptual nature of the power application and the far-off mass production date of 2021 brings up a lot of questions regarding how convenient electric cars will be throughout this next generation.

Car companies have only recently started promising the swift normalization of electric vehicles on a global scale. In this year’s KPMG Global Automotive Executive Survey, 90 percent of car industry executives surveyed in the United Kingdom expected battery electric vehicles to dominate the automotive marketplace by 2025. With this battery technology potentially not rolling out until 2021, is it realistic to assume BEVs will be the new norm within the next decade? Doubtful.

However, assuming Samsung delivers, a shorter charging time and nearly 400 mile range could make battery-powered vehicles as convenient as their ICE counterparts. And, considering that you can plug your EV in at home, the biggest advantages of all-electric ownership are no longer mired by limited range and lengthy recharge times.

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33 Comments on “Company That Developed Exploding Batteries for Phones Reveals Powerful New Energy Cell for Electric Cars...”

  • avatar

    Tesla’s current batteries can catch on fire all by themselves…they really don’t need Samsung’s help! Seriously, the advances in battery tech are moving very rapidly (I work in an industry that has seen and benefitted from the huge advances in battery tech in the last 15 years).

    The key is becoming: How to add enough life/miles to charge, adequate amp/hr output, quick charging times yet still make it safe and light enough to be realistic in both the design and cost of the vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      “The key is becoming: How to add enough life/miles to charge, adequate amp/hr output, quick charging times yet still make it safe and light enough to be realistic in both the design and cost of the vehicle.”

      In short how to make batteries do everything we want for nothing in return. Engineering is all about making compromises for the solution you have while chasing the ideal solution that you know will never come.

  • avatar

    To any the site/electrical engineers/materials scientists/etc out there:

    What is the relative increased statistical risk of spontaneous combustion between this type of battery (or those now used in Teslas, Chevy Volts/Bolts) in a fully charged electric/hybrid vehicle parked in a garage somewhere in Phoenix, in August, that has an ambient temperature of 122° Fahrenheit versus a conventional ICE vehicle with a full tank of gasoline?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      For the conditions you describe, I think the difference would be:

      Lithium ion: exceptionally low chance.
      Gasoline: no chance.

      But this is for *spontaneous* combustion.

      However, other factors beside temperature play a bigger role in *general* combustion. Fuel leaks from loose fittings, crashes, etc, make gasoline much more risky, and the exposure to spark from a variety of sources. This is why 500 cars burn up every day.

      Lithium ion is much more stable when exposed to normal crash conditions, but a poorly-designed battery can suffer from overheating if it doesn’t have a good protection circuit. Of course, some lithium ion batteries burn hot when exposed to air moisture, but not all. The Nisan Leaf pouch battery wouldn’t burn if you punctured it with a screwdriver. But even when a lithium ion battery burns, it doesn’t do so with the explosive pressure wave that gasoline does.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      DeadWeight, the risk of fire from either vehicle is very low just sitting in a hot garage. The big difference is it’s common to charge an electric car in a garage while gasoline ICE engine cars get refueled off-site and outdoors. Battery related fires tend to be associated with rapid charging of batteries.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        I didn’t know that there were any tendencies for battery-related fires. You would think the usual Tesla/EV-haters would jump on every news report of an electric car burning, but it’s so uncommon that even Fox doesn’t bother.

        The Samsung phone issues were cause by cells flexing in an extremely thin phone. That’s unlikely to happen in an electric car. The individual cells are much smaller relative to the size of the whole car/phone, they go through more rigorous testing, and the battery container is less restricted by aesthetic considerations. Any flex would probably be taken-up by the electrical connection between cells rather than by the cells.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Still, the partially conceptual nature of the power application and the far-off mass production date of 2021 brings up a lot of questions regarding how convenient electric cars will be throughout this next generation.”

    Answer: As convenient as they are today. For critics – not very convenient. For actual users – very convenient.

    Personally, I would find owning a pickup truck very inconvenient because I can’t park it in my garage.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Company That Developed Exploding Batteries for Phones”

    Cheap-shot journalism. Is this how TTAC will always refer to Samsung?

    “Company That Developed Exploding Cars” = Ford
    “Company That Developed Exploding Trucks” = GM
    “Company That Developed Exploding Tires” = Firestone
    “Company That Developed Exploding Rockets” = anyone who makes rockets
    “Company That Developed Exploding Washing Machines” = Samsung (well, ok)
    “Company That Developed Exploding Planes” = Boeing
    “Company That Developed Exploding Batteries for Planes” = Yuasa

    As for this mythical battery, I’m not holding my breath. No word on cost, manufacturability, cold-weather performance, hot-weather performance, deep-cycling ability, cycle life curves, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      01 Deville


    • 0 avatar

      +2 on the “cheap-shot journalism” comment. Mind you, I’m replying, so I’m just as much a part of the problem.

      Samsung isn’t the first, last or only company to have catastrophic LiIon battery failure; they’re just the most well-known thanks to a) the sheer number of devices they ship and, b) the social-media echo chamber.

      As someone who owned, and subsequently had to return, a Apple PowerBook 5300, for this reason, it isn’t a new issue.

    • 0 avatar

      +1 for the cheap shot journalism, and +1 for pointing out the scant details.

      There are too many variables and not enough standards in batteries yet. Forget the performance standards, someone need to set the safety standard for automotive batteries.

      As far as safety is concerned, need to specify tolerance to both cold and hot temperatures, tolerance to fast dis/charge rates, internal heat generated, tolerance to punctures, soldering standards for corrosion and shock/vibration resistance, among others. Not to mention a standard for the battery management system and the fail safes it needs. In other automotive components, there is already a comprehensive standard, but not for batteries (the ones used for propulsion, not the 12V). Right now, it’s kind of the wild west and the consumer is left to their own devices, and vast majority of the time they are just trusting the manufacturer to get it right. Lives are at stake if these are not implemented sooner rather than later.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m sorry, but are you defending Samsung?

      Because clearly the better approach is not mentioning something that basically happened yesterday in regards to very similar tech the company is now promising? The other examples you brought up happened some time ago. Samsung’s messup was recent news.

      Not that bringing up other companies’ screwups are relevant to dismissing Samsung’s. It’s like arguing you shouldn’t report domestic abuse because it happens in all sorts of marriages.

      I don’t get some of the people around here who will go out of their way to let companies off the hook.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, to be fair, the issue wasn’t the battery technology, but instead the specific design and manufacture of the cells they were using in a specific device -the cells were so space constrained that manufacturing issues were amplified leading to issues. The same design wouldn’t be used in auto applications.

        Now, given that, apparently, Samsung did this by rushing these cells to production – that’s cause for concern for them as a supplier to be sure, but hopefully as a third-party, rather than first-party supplier of cells, auto manufacturers can validate their designs, but still, while their decisions might invite closer scrutiny, it doesn’t mean their auto cell designs are *dangerous*.

      • 0 avatar

        I didn’t read SCE’s comments the same way you did. To me, it sounded more like SCE was saying we should have one standard and if we are to attach exploding batteries to Samsung, we should attach the worst mistakes to other companies as well. He called out that it wasn’t generally the case.

        • 0 avatar

          There was a quote (I paraphrase) from a death-row inmate in a House, M.D. episode –

          “What if everyone knew you by the worst thing you ever did?”

          I had to think about that a little while.

      • 0 avatar
        Click REPLY to reload page

        But people deserve forgiveness, and Corporations are “Persons”!

        • 0 avatar

          My company was acquired by a HUGE company who now writes my paycheck.

          The product line that I’m partially responsible for is probably 2% of their business.

          If asked in court, I would disavow any responsibility for the damage that any of their other products could cause.

          It’s like my mother died, and now I’m stuck with my stepfather; an uneasy relationship, but it’s a cold, harsh world out there.

          Yes, corporations are people, in a way.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @ MazdaThreeve: I’m not defending Samsung at all.

        I am somewhat familiar with lithium ion batteries, having designed devices that use them for many years, in addition to the packs themselves. Samsung’s screwup in this case is unforgivable, actually. For a company who physically produces the cells, protection circuits, and packaging, this *never* should have happened.

        My complaint is about the snarky journalism style in this story, which is becoming more common here at TTAC. It’s the same yellow journalism that we experienced during the election cycle.

  • avatar

    This is really going to be an issue if Long range BEVs like the bolt take off. Batteries are going to be pretty seriously supply constrained for everyone but Tesla (and for Tesla, that’s assuming their raw materials supplies hold out, but what does that leave for everyone else)?

    The model 3 may not have any true competition at release *in volume* not because no other car manufacturer can design a competing model, but because almost no one else will have batteries in volume for hundreds of thousands of cars a year.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed. Tesla was wise to build the Gigafactory.

      I always ask how other mfrs plan to produce their mythical EVs in any quantity, without their own battery factories. FWIW, I think VW and M-B are planning to build their own, but Ford, GM, BMW, etc – I don’t know.

  • avatar

    My goal on long trips is to average 70 mph including stops on interstate highways with a speed limit of 75 mph. If a car with this battery can recharge to 80% of 372 miles in 20 minutes, my goal is mathematically possible. The catch is whether the range at my cruising speed (75 to 80 mph) really is 372 miles.

    • 0 avatar

      At 75-80 mph, you won’t get 372 miles, just like you wouldn’t get the same mpg you’d get at 65 in a gas car. It takes more energy to go fast.

      If you do 500+ mile road trips every week, it’s going to be a long time before a pure EV is right for you. OTOH, if you do them a few times a year, the slightly slower road trips will be more than made up for by never having to visit a gas station the rest of the time.

    • 0 avatar

      If you do a lot of long distance driving a plug in hybrid makes more sense.

  • avatar

    Well I’ll know which cars not to park to.

  • avatar

    One also has to allow a safety margin. If max range is (say) 372 miles, you’re going to want to recharge after maybe 325. If you recharge to 80%, your max range is now about 300 miles, so your next recharge is in about 250 miles. Not great for road trips, given that you need to dedicate at least 20 minutes to each recharging, instead of maybe 5 minutes for refuelling every 350-400 miles.

    Not to mention the ease of finding gas stations vs. recharging stations.

  • avatar

    Based solely on the headline, I suspect that this will surely end well for all involved. Or not.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    The best photo you could find for this story is a standard 12V lead acid car battery? C’mon guys.

  • avatar

    I get it . This would be BIG NEWS except for all the new highly touted
    battery technology that never made it to see the light of day.

    • 0 avatar

      @morbiz: There’s a lot of new battery technology that has seen the light of day. I have a new technology Nissan Battery that I’ve put 42,000 miles on that still charges to 12 bars and 100+ miles range (8 to 9+ miles on the first bar) despite 100’s of quick charges. You’d never see that level of durability on early Nissan Batteries. A new battery tech company I’m close to delivered early samples of their batteries (improved energy density and cheaper manufacturing process) to a customer for evaluation last fall.

      The problem is that it takes years to get from the lab to mass production. Testing, designing and building the manufacturing equipment, to building the factories. It just doesn’t happen overnight. The Samsung battery in the article is here now. The 2021 date is for when it is estimated to be in mass production. The smaller company I know delivered early production last fall, but probably won’t be in mass production until 2020.

      Sometimes the pie-in-the-sky exotic battery technologies tend to grab the headlines. The guys with good working technology that are near to actual production are very secretive for competitive reasons. For example, look at the Samsung announcement. There’s a lot of information missing from that announcement.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, the time line for launching automotive technology is long. Another TTAC post on a “breakthrough” technology notes the original core tech was laboratory proven in 1980, and is only now reaching the point where it is useable in the auto industry in “compliance cars.” That’s 35 years and still counting. But the long, slow slog of incremental improvements has yet to run out of (sorry) juice, and there are an increasing number of alternative chemistries, too.

  • avatar

    I know you guys are run with no budget (shame on you Verticalscope, TTAC deserves more $$$) but you couldn’t find a public domain picture of a Panasonic lithium-ion cell, or other Li battery, so you choose a lead acid car battery picture for this story.

    Our 140 character or less society doesn’t read anymore and now thinks their regular lead-acid car battery is a time bomb from Samsung. I saw it on TTAC…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I haven’t checked to see if this 372 mile claim is for the European cycle, or the EPA cycle. If it’s for the European cycle, then the EPA equivalent would be about 257 miles.

    This battery might be around 100 kWh, which means it is charging at about 2X the rate of a Tesla Supercharger (120-150 kW), meaning 240 kW. This is somewhat lower than the proposed next-gen EV chargers, which are supposed to be 350 kW or maybe 500-600 kW.

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