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SVOLT launches cobalt-free lithium-ion cells for the automotive sector

Tue, 02/02/2021 - 16:05 -- Paul Crompton

SVOLT Energy Technology (SVOLT), a spin-off of the Chinese OEM Great Wall Motors, has launched a cobalt-free battery cell.

First announced at the International Motor Show (IAA) in September 2019, SVOLT is initially offering two sizes of the nickel-manganese battery cells.

Serial production of the new products is scheduled to start in June at its factory in Jintan, China. By the end of 2023, the new batteries may also be produced at the planned factory in Saarland, Germany.

The new battery cells consist of 75% nickel and 25% manganese, and are stabilised by using doping and coating processes developed by SVOLT. 

The company says its NMX cells can achieve more than 2,500 charging cycles compared to conventional NCM battery cells.

The company’s cathode material is based on a single crystal with a wafer-thin surface coating (nano-coating), consisting of only a few hundred molecules.

Using this single crystal approach, SVOLT claims to have reduced the formation of micro-cracks and fractures in the active cathode material to halt the wear on the cell. 

The nanometers thick coating protects the surface of the used cathode material against secondary reactions with the electrolyte to slow down cell ageing in the NMX cells.

One variant of the cell is 115Ah, 245Wh/kg in MEB format (33.4 x 220 x 102.5 mm). Their voltage is 3.74V and capacity is 430Wh; its has an effective usable capacity of 396Wh. This cell variant is expected to be available from the second quarter of this year.

The other variant is 226Ah with an energy density of 240 Wh/kg is expected to be available from the fourth quarter of this year. The 226Ah version is SVOLT’s own cell format L6 long battery cells in a thin prismatic design with electrodes and degassing valves positioned at the sides.

SVOLT says the elimination of cobalt makes the batteries around 5% cheaper than classic high-nickel batteries due to the reduced nickel content, on the one hand, and the complete elimination of cobalt. 

A SVOLT statement read: “These factors make the battery cells particularly suitable for the broad middle-range market. At the same time, our products achieve an energy density that is just 5% below that of comparable NCM battery cells.

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