The one most high-priced element of an EV battery is the cathode, which accounts for up to a third of the price tag of a battery cell.
Most EV batteries nowadays use one particular of two styles of cathodes: Nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) or lithium iron phosphate (LFP).
NCM cathodes are able of storing additional strength, but use high-priced components (nickel, cobalt). LFP cathodes ordinarily do not maintain as substantially electricity, but they are safer and tend to be fewer high priced for the reason that they use resources that are extra abundant.
The cost of crucial cathode elements these types of as nickel and cobalt has skyrocketed over the earlier two a long time.
That is why so several firms are hoping to substitute less expensive, a lot more plentiful resources these kinds of as sodium and sulfur, if their technical limits can be defeat.
“Sodium ion absolutely has a location, specially for stationary storage and low-end autos in cost-delicate markets these types of as China, India, Africa and South America,” states expert Prabhakar Patil, a former LG Chem govt.
“The introduction price for lithium sulfur is probable to be higher — even nevertheless it has the possible to be the lowest price — creating client electronics the original software,” Patil claimed.
Michigan-dependent Amandarry and British startup AMTE Ability are creating sodium ion batteries using sodium chloride — fundamentally table salt — as the principal cathode ingredient. They do not need to have lithium, cobalt or nickel — the three most high priced battery ingredients.
Jeff Pratt, taking care of director of the British isles Battery Industrialistion Centre – a state-funded 130 million pound ($153 million) manufacturing facility that rents out its output lines to startups to examination battery chemistries – claimed he is making an attempt to in shape a sodium ion startup’s cells into a packed production program due to the fact it is “strategically significant” to Britain’s hopes of becoming at the forefront of creating new, much better batteries.
U.S. providers Lyten and Conamix, Germany’s Theion and Norway’s Morrow are establishing lithium sulfur cathodes that continue to require lithium in scaled-down portions, but not nickel or cobalt.
By using ubiquitous cathode supplies — sulfur is broadly applied in fertilizer, so is low-cost like salt — these startups claim battery expenses could be slashed by up to two thirds, likely creating EVs very affordable over and above the middle lessons.
Latest EV battery packs generally variety in value from $10,000-$12,000.
“If we can hit the targets we have identified with some of the world’s most significant automakers, then we are off to the races,” Conamix CEO Charlotte Hamilton claimed.