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Samsung SDI unveils new batteries to increase electric car range and charging capacity

Samsung SDI has been pushing to carve itself a bigger space in the EV industry and it has been using auto shows to showcase their latest battery products.

They are doing it again at the 2018 Detroit Motor Show this week with new batteries that they claim will increase electric car range and charging capacity.

Samsung is bringing some new technologies to Detroit, like their latest solid-state battery and a new “graphene ball” technology, which they expect could significantly increase energy capacity and charging speed:

“In addition SDI will highlight the recently introduced battery technology of “graphene balls,” a unique material that enables a 45 percent increase in capacity and five times faster charging speed. SDI will also be showing their latest effort with “solid-state batteries,” a technology which has improved both the capacity and safety of SDI’s batteries. The development of “graphene balls” by a team of researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute and Technology was covered in the November 2017 edition of the science journal Nature Communications.”

The company also brought their current lineup of 37, 50, 60 and 94 ampere hour batteries, which they say can power all-electric and plug-in hybrid cars with a range of up to 600 kilometers (373 miles).

Most of Samsung’s battery cell products are prismatic cells, but last year the company unveiled its own ‘2170’ battery cell to compete with Tesla/Panasonic. They brought the latest iteration of the cell to the show.

The company described the cells:

“Samsung SDI also displayed cells and modules based on the new 21700 standard cylindrical battery. A ‘21700’ battery is 21 millimeters in diameter and 70 millimeters in height with capacity that is 50 percent larger than 18650 battery technology. Its size is optimal for maximizing power output as well as battery life. A 21700 battery has come into the spotlight as the next-generation standard for applications in Energy Storage Systems (ESS), electric power tools and electric vehicles.”

They are also showing some new battery cell and module formats to reduce the battery pack height, which can result in a more spacious interior.

Electrek’s Take

The battery space is extremely exciting right now because most industry watchers know that the real volume is coming very soon and it will be interesting to see who is going to come out on top.

Right now, Panasonic dominates through its partnership with Tesla and it is likely to continue to dominate for the next few years through the Model 3 production ramp up. But several other players, like LG Chem and Samsung SDI, are partnering with established automakers and new startups, which are expected to begin increasing their EV production volumes toward the end of the decade.

That’s when things will start to get even more interesting and we expect that the competition for battery production capacity will be even more fierce than it is now.

There are also Chinese producers like CATL that are expected to become major players in the EV industry in the next few years.

It’s a capital extensive industry that gives bigger players like Panasonic, Samsung, and LG an advantage, but I think the market is massive enough to leave plenty of room for newcomers.

The next few years will be very exciting in this space. Who do you think will come out on top?

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