New Battery Chemistry Promises Better EVs

June 11, 2018

We sometimes hear that the need for expensive or toxic materials in lithium Ion batteries is a drawback or limitation on electric vehicle adoption.

Important to understand that the battery chemistry we have today is not the chemistry of tomorrow, – rapid change occurring.
Technology. Who’da thunk it?


With cobalt prices soaring and ethical questions about artisanal mining continuing, Panasonic has announced that it is in the process of developing cobalt-free EV batteries. Panasonic, the world’s largest automotive lithium-ion battery manufacturer and Tesla’s exclusive battery cell supplier for the Model 3 sedan, produces the cells at the joint Gigafactory 1 in Nevada.

Cobalt material is commonly used in the production of rechargeable batteries for a wide range of consumer electronics devices, stationary energy storage units, and electric vehicles. The cathode materials of batteries typically contain the rare metal cobalt, such as in the form of lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2).

Portable electronic devices currently use the majority share of cobalt, but batteries for electric cars can require 1,000 times more cobalt than a phone. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said recently that battery cells used in Model 3 have achieved the highest energy density while “significantly reducing cobalt content,” increasing nickel content, and still maintaining superior thermal stability.“The cobalt content of our Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminum cathode chemistry is already lower than next-generation cathodes that will be made by other cell producers with a Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt ratio of 8:1:1.” (For more on such developments, see this and this.)

“We have already cut down cobalt usage substantially,” Kenji Tamura, who is in charge of Panasonic’s automotive battery business, confirmed. “We are aiming to achieve zero usage in the near future, and development is underway.”

Below, Dan Kammen of the University of California discusses EV development, and mentions new battery design.



3 Responses to “New Battery Chemistry Promises Better EVs”

  1. stephengn1 Says:

    Looking forward to the water based manganese-hydrogen battery out of Stanford too

  2. Sir Charles Says:

    As battery costs decline, researchers say localized portfolios of clean energy could challenge gas plant investments. A report from the Rocky Mountain Institute shows that emerging mixes of renewable energy, storage and distributed energy may soon be more cost effective than gas plants in some regions.

    => End of the ‘gas rush?’ Renewables, storage reaching cost parity, report finds

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