Lithium Metal and Advanced CATL Batteries to Double the Range of EVs and Enable Electric Planes

CATL is the largest battery maker in the world. They have introduced a super energy-dense battery that can double the range of electric cars and enable large passenger electric planes. There is also new battery technology being scaled by SES and Amprius.

CATL 500 Wh/kg Battery

On April 19, CATL launched condensed battery, a cutting-edge battery technology at Auto Shanghai. With an energy density of up to 500 Wh/kg.

CATL’s condensed battery leverages highly conductive biomimetic condensed state electrolytes to construct a micron-level self-adaptive net structure that can adjust the interactive forces among the chains, thus improving the conductive performance of the cells and in turn the efficiency of lithium ion transporting while boosting stability of the microstructure.

What is more, condensed battery integrates a range of innovative technologies, including the ultra-high energy density cathode materials, innovative anode materials, separators, and manufacturing processes, offering excellent charge and discharge performance as well as good safety performance.

SES is a world leader in next-generation Li-Metal batteries which will be half of the size for the same energy and 30% less weight. This will be great for longer range electric cars and will enable large passenger electric planes. They are scaling up initial small 200 MW per year factories.

Electric car expert, Cory Steuben praised SES batteries.

SES’ system approach is designed to deliver:

* A step change in energy density up to 400 Wh/kg and/or 1000 Wh/L (actual measurement, not simulated numbers), significantly increasing the range of EVs and eVTOLs.
* A fast-charge capability from 10% State-of-Charge to 80% in under 15 minutes.
* Precise cell performance and health monitoring and incident prediction and prevention.
* Lower total cost since Li-Metal paired with lower cost cathode (nickel/cobalt free) can achieve similar energy density as Li-ion paired with higher cost cathode (high nickel).
* Rapid and practical commercialization roadmap since the manufacturing process of Li-Metal is similar to Li-ion. This is evidenced by 5 global automakers that are backing SES including General Motors, Hyundai Motors, Honda Motors, Geely, and Shanghai Auto.

SES current batteries are at about 330 Wh/kg and nearly 1000 Wh/L and a few hundred recharge cycles. They are far two times smaller and about 50% lighter.

Ampris Batteries

Amprius Technologies’ batteries deliver up to double the energy density over standard lithium-ion batteries. This means the battery cells provide more energy and power with much less weight and volume.

Amprius will have a quarterly investor call at 5 pm EST, 2pm PST today.

In March, 2023 Amprius Technologies, Inc. (“Amprius” or the “Company”) (NYSE: AMPX), a leader in next-generation lithium-ion batteries with its Silicon Anode Platform, showed a lithium-ion cell delivering unprecedented energy density of 504 Wh/kg, 1300 Wh/L, resulting in unparalleled run time. At approximately half the weight and volume of state-of-the-art, commercially available lithium-ion cells, the all-new battery cell delivers potential industry-disrupting performance with barrier breaking discharge times. Amprius’ next-generation cells are well positioned to power products in the fast-growing aviation and, eventually, electric vehicles markets, estimated to be collectively over $100 billion in battery demand by 2025.

The 500 Wh/kg battery platform significantly expands boundaries for customers and is a tailored solution for applications that require maximum discharge times without compromising key features such as aircraft payload and without having to increase vehicle weight. The new batteries demonstrate both high gravimetric energy density (Wh/kg) and volumetric energy density (Wh/L) with exceptional adaptability. The customizable platform allows customers to select the option to either increase energy content in a battery pack without increasing weight, reduce weight in applications that target a fixed energy content, or combinations of both. Higher energy is important for longer run times, range and endurance, while lighter packs increase energy efficiency – even for the same battery energy content.

6 thoughts on “Lithium Metal and Advanced CATL Batteries to Double the Range of EVs and Enable Electric Planes”

  1. While the ratcheting up from 0.33 kWh/kg to roughly 0.50 kWh/kg (raw cells, unpackaged electromechanically) is sweet, it in an of itself is not a breakthrough enabling technology for any kind of regional mid-sized aircraft optimization. Foremost? Aggregate battery mass.

    Aggregate battery PACK mass must include protection schemes — physical, to thwart puncture, environmental, to thwart over-currents and over-voltages, and of course thermal … runaway heating of packs both during charge and discharge. AND, should fires start, there really, really, really needs to be an integrated near-fail-proof fire-fighting system that can quench cell fires before they go postal and take out an aircraft.

    REALLY solid, that last point.

    For passenger flights, aircraft below 50 seats are essentially small-market, ‘hopper’ planes to serve remote markets (think Canada and Alaska, Wyoming and Montana). For the most part though, for regionally relevant aircraft to ‘work’ in the consumer space, such aircraft need to at least cover 1200 nautical miles, fly at 350 knots and be absolutely solid-as-a-rock conveyers. And hold over 50 and preferably around 100 passengers.

    Airbus A220-100 fills the bill … 6000 nmi, 22,000 L fuel, 100 to 120 passengers. If the overall efficiency of its turbofan jet engines (x2) is about 36% (pretty reasonable), and eveyr liter of jet fuel has a raw thermal potential of 34.7 MJ/L … so 12 to 13 MJ/L of useable motive power, then there is some 270,000 MJ of motive power in the petrol tank.

    Silly-but indicative- math gets us to 37 MJ of power per nautical mile. Which is about 10 kilowatt hours. Which at 0.35 kWh/kg (all-in with housing, protection, etc), is 30 kg per nautical mile … for the battery pack.

    Now, lets say reasonable that we really can’t find an economic proposition that makes sense below 500 nautical miles (as in SFO to LAX) … then that’s 15,000 kg in steady-flight battery power, and maybe 20% more or 18,000 kg of at-takeoff dead weight.

    There would be a savings for no gas tanks, and for the much lighter weight electric motors instead of jet engines, but still … with the extraordinary failsafe business, I’d bet it is a wash.

    So, 18,000 kg or 40,000 lbs for batteries. For 500 miles. And maybe 100 passengers, flying at 0.7 Mach? You know, ‘viable alternative’ regions.

    Just saying …it looks still too massive, and ultimately, insufficient(ly) ranged to make a profitable economic argument. Jet fuel is just too darn energy-intense compared to CATL batteries … even as they’re projected.


  2. Brain Wang, As I have previously commented, please familiarize yourself with the Modified Breguet Range Equation to stay grounded in truth regarding the electric aircraft long range potential. I am an Aeronautical Engineer and can help you make a good post with parametric variations of the inputs.

    • I read through the paper found by Googling “Modified Breguet Range Equation” (good paper). It was concise and offers memorable visual graphs of the trade-off equations and the payload mass fractions in order to achieve limit-case aeronautical profiles.

      However, one of the things that I think is missing is the tradeoff between airspeed and flight efficiency. It is significant: A substantial amount of a jet aircraft’s energy goes into overcoming whole-body drag at 500 kmi/h. Yes, this is captured in the lift-vs-drag ratios, but it still remains notable that one generally designs slower-heavier aircraft when payload and range are both at a premium. Always has been the case, and who knows, might always be so.

      Significantly, I see little reason to expect — given the extreme utility of extracting every last motive newton-second out of each joule of input energy — to expect that ducted fans will be viable compared to open propellor propulsive machines. May seem a little odd to talk about, I’ve been struck several times (while in flight) about the dynamics of turbo-prop semi-jet aircraft, and the economics of their operation at 0.3 to 0.4 Mach slipstream velocities.

      Anyway… just a positive flow.

      • There is not a trade-off between airspeed and flight efficiency, as you just fly at the altitude that optimizes L/D (Lift over Drag), or increase altitude to reduce “equivalent airspeed” which is limited by the engines ability to produce thrust at altitude. Interestingly, electric motors should have much better power potential at high altitude than turbine engines since they don’t rely on air flow other than maybe cooling and superconducting motors can nearly zero out that need. The real limit is trans-sonic flow, so swept propeller and wing tips will be useful.

        • NASA studies show that props work good up to Mach 0.76. The A400M flies up to Mach 0.72 and that is a heavy military transport.

  3. Is there an existing battery chart that compares different chemistry:
    Li Na Al Si
    Energy density
    Power density
    Discharge cycles
    Charge time
    Operating temp
    Etc, etc, etc

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