The electric vehicle (EV) battery stands out as one of the most expensive components of an EV. While the cost has significantly decreased with the widespread use of lithium-ion batteries and growing production volumes, further reductions are anticipated as advancements in EV battery design and the adoption of more cost-effective materials come into play.

This article explores the future of EV battery technology, shedding light on the latest types of EV batteries expected to emerge in 2023 and beyond.

Anticipated Trends in EV Batteries

A central challenge with EV battery cells lies in the use of certain materials that are not only expensive but also unsustainable. For instance, cobalt, primarily mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, poses a significant concern for the sustainability of EV battery manufacturing. While the fundamental design of EV batteries may see limited changes, the focus is shifting towards the use of more affordable and sustainable materials in the long run.

Here are some upcoming trends in EV batteries:

  1. Batteries with Reduced Cobalt Content:

    • General Motors’ Ultium NMCA utilizes 70 percent less cobalt, favoring a higher proportion of nickel and aluminum.
    • Lithium-Iron Phosphate (LiFP) batteries in certain Tesla Model 3 models feature cathodes made from cost-effective lithium-iron phosphate, offering increased safety compared to traditional lithium-ion batteries.
  2. Cobalt-Free Batteries:

    • The NMX battery by Chinese company SVOLT completely eliminates cobalt in its cathodes, boasting 89 percent nickel alongside aluminum and manganese. It offers a higher energy density with a range of 500 miles on a single charge.
  3. Solid-state Cells:

    • Solid-state battery cells, featuring a solid electrolyte instead of a liquid one, promise a more stable battery with enhanced storage capacity and faster charging times. Toyota’s solid-state battery, using sulfide superionic conductors, can charge in just 7 minutes.
  4. Carbon Nanotube Electrodes (2023):

    • The carbon nanotube battery, available in 2023, utilizes vertically aligned carbon nanotubes, providing a tenfold boost in battery power, triple the energy storage, and a fivefold increase in battery lifecycle. Charging to 80 percent takes only 5 minutes.
  5. Batteries made from Sand:

    • In development are batteries using pure silicon derived from sand, offering three times improved performance compared to current lithium-ion batteries containing graphite.
  6. Silicon Anode Batteries:

    • The silicon anode battery, developed by the University of Eastern Finland, incorporates mesoporous silicon microparticles and carbon nanotubes. With a tenfold capacity increase and significantly improved battery performance, it sources sustainable silicon from barley husk ash.
  7. Ryden Dual Carbon Tech Batteries:

    • Developed by Power Japan Plus, these batteries prioritize durability and faster charging over lithium-ion batteries, providing up to 20 times faster charging times.
  8. Zinc-Air Batteries:

    • Under development at Sydney University, zinc-air batteries offer temperature stability and lower fire risk than lithium-ion batteries, though researchers are exploring cost-effective alternatives.
  9. Aluminum-Air Batteries:

    • Utilizing oxygen from the air, aluminum-air batteries result in lighter batteries without a liquid electrolyte, promising an extended driving range. An experimental car achieved a 1,000-mile range on a single charge.
  10. Graphene Batteries:

    • Developed by Graphenano, graphene batteries exhibit 33 times faster charging and depletion times than lithium-ion batteries, with a 500-mile driving range and quick recharging in just a few minutes.
  11. Nanowire Batteries:

    • Nanowire batteries, containing gold nanowires a thousand times thinner than human hair, are in the experimental stage. Recent tests showed the battery being recharged 200,000 times in three months without signs of degradation.
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Promoting Sustainability in EV Batteries: The trends outlined above highlight a push for sustainability in EV batteries, emphasizing the use of environmentally friendly materials. The elimination of cobalt, a toxic mineral, in EV battery manufacturing is a promising future advantage. Researchers are actively exploring sustainable materials, such as sand and oxygen from the air, predicting accelerated advancements in EV battery technology between 2023 and 2030.