Home Tech Panasonic’s New Powder-Powered Batteries Will Supercharge EVs

Panasonic’s New Powder-Powered Batteries Will Supercharge EVs

by Elijah
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“There are companies that have partnerships and collaborations, but they are all still in development,” says Berdichevsky, “while we are ready for large-scale production.”

Not coincidentally, Moses Lake is also home to REC Silicon, a previously shuttered supplier to the photovoltaic industry, and now one of only two U.S. producers of silane gas. Group14 will purchase locally; Berdichevsky preferred not to say where Sila gets its silane from. Both companies received federal grants of $100 million to build their silicon anode plants.

Jay Turner, professor of environmental studies at Wellesley College, tells WIRED that large-scale domestic production of new EV battery technologies is understandably a big problem. “It marks an important break with history,” says the battery historian WHO tracks new North American EV production.

“In the past, the US led the way in advanced battery research, but much of the actual production took place abroad. It’s exciting to see US-developed research being scaled up in US factories. Sila and Group14 both appear well positioned to scale.”

Power players

However, they are only two of the silicon anode producers in the US. California companies OneD Battery Sciences And Amprius grow silicon nanowires that they claim are less prone to swelling than nano-silicon powders.

Amprius, founded in 2008 by Stanford materials science professor Yi Cui, has focused on silicon anodes for the aerospace sector, while OneD Battery Sciences will deploy its silicon nanotechnology Ultium batteries from GM.

Instead of developing silicon nanoparticles or nanowires, Enevate, also from California, deposits nanoscale silicon films directly onto copper foil. The silicon anode batteries are already used in electric motorcycles.

Startup in Chicago NanoGraf makes a silicon oxide material for anodes that it pre-swells for stability. The anodes are used in military electronics.

Developers of other battery chemistries want to completely supplant traditional lithium-ion. Tesla already produces cars with lithium iron phosphate batteries; Toyota has teased industry insiders about it solid state batteries; Chinese companies are developing sodium ion (Na ion) technologies that require little to no lithium, nickel or cobalt; and Samsung SDI perfects batteries with high manganese content.

There could well be room for all of the above in a growing global EV market. That of Great Britain indeed Advanced propulsion centera specialist in emerging battery technologies, says this shift in electric technology “is not about one type (battery chemistry) winning over the other, because performance characteristics cause user cases to vary.”

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