The German energy storage company Lion Smart is working on better lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. The Light Battery & # 39; concept is a product in development, with a modular design that aims to cut costs and improve safety. As proof of the concept, Lion Smart has built a battery pack with a capacity of 100 kWh and crammed it into a BMW i3.
A BMW i3 fresh from the factory has a 33 kWh battery, which offers a range of 114 miles, according to the EPA. Equipped with the Lion Smart battery – in the same footprint of the OEM battery that it replaces – the company claims a range of approximately 435 miles (it is unclear whether it is based on the NEDC or WLTP cycle or its own internal tests from the company). Interestingly, that is the same range that BMW expects from its iNext EV, coming in 2021.
The design of the Light Battery pack is flexible in terms of capacity, voltage and physical dimensions, to meet the needs of a manufacturer. Each cell in the battery has its own fuse, so if an individual cell fails, only that cell is disconnected from the system, ensuring the integrity of the rest of the battery. For fire safety the cooling system can concentrate on a cell. The phase change of the refrigerant from liquid to gas consumes much of the thermal energy of the cell and the gas is then released via a valve. This ensures that the heat does not spread to nearby cells and causes thermal deviation – the ingredients of the infamous battery fire.
There is no wiring in the battery. Cells are arranged in "Super cells", which are then arranged in larger modules. The Supercells have measurement cards that are connected directly to the battery poles to check voltage and temperature. This information is transmitted wirelessly via infrared. If you are interested in the details, view the video above and read more on the Lion Smart website.
Not on the technical details? Just know that Lion Smart was able to make a battery with enough energy density to fit into a BMW i3 and triple its driving range without taking up more space. That is pretty cool.
Up to now, this i3 is only a proof of the company's battery technology concept. Lion Smart does not provide batteries for customers to retrofit in their own EVs to increase range and replace outdated packages. At least not yet. However, the company delivers its technology and expertise to manufacturers and has signed a contract to develop a modular battery platform for an unspecified customer. (Every guess there? Lion Smart sums up BMW, VW, Toyota, Bosch and Kreisel to its customers.) You may see this Light Battery technology coming to a factory-built EV memory in the coming years.