Back in January 2021, General Motors (GM) announced that it will only produce electric vehicles by 2035. If such an announcement from America’s biggest automaker wasn’t encouraging enough for the transition to electric vehicles in the US, GM has followed it up with another big announcement regarding a new battery technology that could greatly improve EV range.
The batteries used in electric cars today are typically made from lithium-ion technology, but GM has announced a new partnership with SolidEnergy Systems (SES) to produce lithium-metals (Li-metal) batteries that could nearly double the capacity of currently lithium-ion cells. What makes Li-metal batteries newsworthy is that they allow for lighter and more powerful fuel cells by replacing the carbon anodes in batteries with metal.
Although li-metal batteries have been around for years, they haven’t been put to use properly because they could only work when heated up to 175 degrees F. Fortunately, SolidEnergy has found a way around this issue, developing an electrolyte coating for lithium metal foil that works at room temperature.
Combined with another key technical advancement, the company has managed to create prototype EV batteries with the same storage capacity as a lithium-ion cell in half the size. This can reduce the weight of an EV and free up space for additional technology.
Moving forward, “GM and SES plan to build a prototyping line in Woburn, Massachusetts, for a high-capacity, pre-production battery by 2023.”