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New Battery Promises To Bring 300-Mile Electric Cars To The Masses

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Envia Battery Technology

Envia Battery Technology

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Here at GreenCarReports, we’re fans of all-electric cars, but even we have to admit that most electric cars on the market today suffer from the same problem: limited range. 

But according to battery firm Envia Systems, the days of limited-range electric cars could soon be over, thanks to a new battery which almost triples the energy density of current electric car battery technology.

Better still, Envia claims its new battery technology is more than 50 percent cheaper than current generation electric car batteries, costing around $125 per kilowatt-hour.

Envia’s lithium-ion batteries use a Silicon Carbon Carbide (Si-C) nanocomposite anode, High Capacity Manganese Rich (HCMR) nanocoated cathode, and patented Envia High Voltage (EHV) electrolyte, which enables them to achieve an energy density of 400 watt-hours per kilogram.  

That’s all very well, but what does it mean in real-world terms?

Envia Battery Technology

Envia Battery Technology

Enlarge Photo

To help make a comparison, the current lithium-manganese battery pack the 2011/12 Nissan Leaf has an energy density of 140 watt-hours per kilogram, while the recently-retired Tesla Roadster has a battery pack energy density of around 130 watt-hours per kilogram. Envia's battery technology is more than triple that. 

Put another way, if the current battery pack in a 2011/12 Nissan Leaf was replaced with a pack made of Envia cells -- and we assume that the weight of all the non-battery cell components of the pack  remain the same weight --  it would store almost 61 kilowatt-hours of energy. 

Using the EPA’s combined rating for the Nissan Leaf as a guide, that equates to a theoretical range of around 170 miles per charge.

Envia Battery Technology

Envia Battery Technology

“In an industry where energy density tends to increases five percent a year, our achievement of more than doubling state-of-art energy density and lowering cost by half is a giant step towards realizing Envia’s mission of mass market affordability of a 300-mile elerctric vehicle,” said Envia Systems Chairman and CEO Atul Kapadia.

That’s a breakthrough that hasn’t gone un-noticed, even if the battery technology might still be a few years from implementation in a production electric car. 

In fact, Envia’s new battery technology has earned it a $7 million strategic investment from General Motor’s venture capital arm, along with a further $10 million from other interested firms during the same 2011 equity investment round.  

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Comments (33)
  1. Sorry to be skeptical but we've seen it too many times before... Some obscure company makes outrageous claims, gets private and public funding, and then goes belly up just as soon as the cash is distributed. I call it total and shameless BS.
     
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  2. One of these days someone will come up with a better battery. So one day there will be an announcement that will be the real deal. Could this be it, well we're just going to have to wait and see.
     
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  3. I'm with you but more gradually. Batteries, with no doubt, do and will improve every year to the point that we can only dream of today. Chances are that any significant breakthrough will come from a large company that's been doing R&D for decades or potentially from someone with the mind of Tesla (the Serbian genius that is :-)) and the odds of the latter are very slim at best...
     
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  4. $125/KWH would be a spectacular breakthrough but it's not mentioned in Envia's press release which talks about a "50% reduction" in the price (50% of what?)and the infographic in this article suggests a 117KWH battery at $20K=$170/KWH. Still great, but clearly it's too early for exact numbers.

    400WH/KG: spectacular breakthrough again, except per Envia's website that drops like a rock after a few charging cycles and flattens out at half that capacity after about 450 cyles, or less than 2 years of use in an EV. Still some work to be done it appears.
     
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  5. Ah just noticed the $125 number in the second infographic...so that would be the cost to the top infographic's $170/KW MSRP. I guess the $125/KWH would be 50% of where Tesla currently is.
     
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  6. I'm with Red Baron. These claims are hardly believable from a company's whose website consists of exactly 4 pages.

    I look forward to more updates from them, but won't hold my breath.
     
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  7. I went to Envia's website too. It's exciting, but yeah the capacity drops off wildly in the first number of cycles. It stays high after that, but does tail off over 450 cycles by more than you would want. It's still good, but not as amazing as you first think it will be. The other interesting thing about it is that the voltage drops off continuously. It's not like say LifPo4 where the voltage is pretty much the same during most of the discharge. In this one it's decreasing at a fairly constant rate.

    Anyway it's a good break through. I'm happy to see any break through. I going to think of this more like a 300 Wh/Kg cell though than a 400 Wh/kg one.
     
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  8. At least they are using an independent 3rd party for verification, and appears GM is already working on them. Also, came from ARPA so doubt it would be too far off track?
     
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  9. The capacity drops off in the first three cycles because the first 3 cycles were done at 100% DoD (C/20, C/10 and C/3 rates respectively). Cycles 4-400 were conducted at 80% DoD at C/3 which are typical charge/discharge profiles in automotive EV applications. By definition you'd get 80% of the original capacity. Hope this helps.
     
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  10. That is a little confusing. You should change the graphic to note this. I see this kind of comment by EV enthusiasts (that the capacity drops dramatically) all over the net.
     
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  11. We made a change to the graphic to denote the first 3 data points represent 100% DoD. Thanks for the feedback.
     
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  12. Confusing it is...So if I understand this correctly capacity starts at 80%/45AH=36AH after 3 cycles and drops off to about 26AH after 450 cycles which suggests a 27% capacity drop. That's hardly acceptable so maybe Envia's technology is better suited for large batterypacks where C rates are low and see most days only partial cycling?
     
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  13. Chris O

    Envia acknowledges more work needs to be done to improve cycle life. Demonstrating cycling and energy density in a 45Ah cell as opposed to coin cells and extrapolating shows the technology is real. The important thing is to first reach the energy density and then continue to improve cycle life.

    To put the current cell level achievement in terms of vehicle performance - each charge/discharge cycle represents 300 miles (since at this 45Ah cell footprint and $125/kWh cell cost a 300-mile pack should be affordable). So 450 cycles represents 135,000 miles.

    Hope that helps.
     
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  14. What would be the effective range at the 135,000 mileage mark? Would it be something like 166 ( 300 mi * 24 aH / 45 aH )?
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  15. Mike

    Please note the capacity fade by cycling at 80% DoD for >400 cycles is from 35Ah to 26Ah about 25% (not 45Ah to 26Ah). As explained earlier on this thread, 45Ah is at 100%DoD.

    So the effective range after >400 cycles in this example at 135,000 miles would be about 225 miles. All EVs have similar capacity fade/range reduction through their accumulated Watt hours of cycling.
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  16. If cycles above 450 do drop off "more than you want" then you must have huge capacity in cars so that full 80% cycles are done fewer times. As Tesla Roadster owners stated when they saw Volt and Leaf capacity - the number of full charges can limit longevity of batteries. If a 100 mile pack can be charged 500 times, that is only 50,000 miles before the pack need sto be replaced. With some of today's cars - Leaf and Volt, more than 2000 charges are what they will give. Also, A123 LiFePo4 packs can go 5000+ recharges. With Envia's lower cost - if their lifespan is lower also - then it's a wash.
     
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  17. John

    The 400Wh/kg at $125/kWh (cell level) breakthrough should enable an affordable 300-mile EV. Current state-of-the-art in automotive is $250-$350/kWh (cell level). This price point and energy density enables a larger pack and fundamentally solves the "range anxiety" problem affordably. In response to Chris O, we acknowledged we need to improve cycle life. But we put our achievement in perspective at a vehicle level - 135,000 miles (not 50,000 miles).
     
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  18. I am really glad that GM is jumping on this battery. If GM is sticking their nose and money into this, you know there has to be something to it...right?
     
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  19. Yeah, like maybe they get the best battery going, put it in a tiny fleet of cutting edge "limited production" leased only cars, then recall them all and sell the battery technology to oil companies? Oh wait, they already did that.......
     
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  20. LOL. I was wondering who would make that connection first. Envia has confirmed elsewhere that they are working with multiple OEMs and are not limited to GM. Lat thing we need is an advanced battery to exclusively licensed to GM.
     
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  21. Half the cost of current lithium EV batteries is not $125. Tesla has the cheapest batteries and theirs run around $525 per kilowatt hour. I notice not one claim about when these batteries might appear, which tells me a lot. Toyota, who I do trust, is in collaboration with Tokyo Institute of Technology (about as prestigious an institution as one can find) and claims they will have a new battery in around 5 years that will cost 1/10th what
    batteries cost nowadays. Ditto for DBM-Energy in Germany. That's where I would place my bets. Sorry to say that the slippery surface technology developed by MIT and licensed to A123 Systems,
    is not going well - the surface clogs up over time. Beware statements from companies searching for investors.
     
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  22. Ramon,

    Please note that the $125/kWh cost for Envia is at a cell-level. We would like to be precise on the distinction between cell and pack. Our website shows a comparison of current state-of-the-art cost at a cell level and it is in the range of $250-$350/kWh versus Envia's $125/kWh.

    We have been one of the most cash-efficient battery start-ups out there. Over the past 4.5 years, we have raised $28M and have most of our publicly announced Series C (December 2010) funds still in our bank. Envia is not raising any capital. This announcement is a reflection of our enthusiasm that an affordable 300-mile electric car will be real in our foreseeable future.
     
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  23. If you are creating a better anode, how will you be able to triple the energy density of current Li Ion batteries with out a similar breakthrough for the cathode?
     
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  24. Jeff

    Very good question. The breakthrough on the cathode came first. Envia's cathode achieves 275mAh/g discharge capacity compared to ~150mAh/g (or less) for layered and olivine chemistries. Please visit our website for technical details of our cathode.
     
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  25. That is very good news indeed. I hope that your iterations for greater longevity and roadworthy robustness pan out soon, as it would be great to see this combination of price and energy density on the road asap.
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  26. I can only be cautiously optimistic after failed promises from EEStor, Altairnano, Fireflyenergy just to name a few. Having said that, I really hope you guys can pull this off.

    If you build it we will buy it.
     
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  27. I really hope this is real. Great example because a 61 kwh battery is about what I think I need for a metro like ATL. By the time you chop 20% off the top and 10% off the bottom for ideal charging, factor down for weather and age, and put in a traffic and peace of mind margin, that gives you about 100 miles you can really always count on for those cross-metro round trips.
     
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  28. With higher density of energy - we must ask "are they safe?" Will they pass all the EUCAR tests of puncture, overcharge, heat saturation, etc.?

    I don't mind lower-capacity cells at a lower price. But when density goes up - so does risk.
     
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  29. John

    Higher specific energy densities actually enable thinner cells for a given cell rated capacity. This would help in easier heat dissipation regardless of whatever cooling strategy is used (i.e. liquid or air-cooled). Envia's cathode has very good DSC (differential scanning calorimetry) performance. Please visit our website (www.enviasystems.com) for technical details.

    We are currently going through qualification cycles with automotive OEMs around the world. The qualification tests include nail penetration tests in large format cells.
     
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  30. Far as I can tell, Li Ion densities have gone up for the past two decades. Still far safer than an only gasoline monopoly alternative.
     
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  31. You must be logged in to post your comment. a great development will be interested to see how this amongst the 2 dozen other projects turn out.
     
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  32. Actually a 200 mile range is more than adequate for the vast majority of commuters. If the current Li-on battery was in the old aerodynamic EV1, no one would be bellyaching about range.

    GM spent a billion dollars over the 1990 decade developing the EV1 project just to show America wasn't ready for electric cars. They pulled the EV1 plug claiming there was no demand despite the fact that every dealer that offered the EV1 had a waiting list & no owner wanted to give their EV1 back at lease end.

    GM sucks & Volts are for dolts.
     
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  33. I dont see the real example...is all conceptual... Too good to be true...the only pack to deliver 300 mi range is the tesla model s...using panasonic batteries 266wh/kg.
     
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