Yet another battery technology breakthrough

Insights — June 2023

A Chinese battery manufacturer backed by one of China’s largest automotive companies claims another breakthrough in lithium-ion battery technology

Chinese battery manufacturer, Greater Bay Technology (which was spun out of state-owned automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group, maker of Aion, the third highest-selling electric vehicle marque in China), claims its new Phoenix cell, which is made with superconducting materials and contains advanced thermal management technology, will not only provide energy density of 260 Wh/kg and a range of 1,000 kilometres on a charge, but it will also allow the battery to operate normally in a wider range of weather conditions.

Long considered the Achilles’ heel of lithium-ion batteries, the temperature of the battery has a direct effect on the chemical reaction within the battery cell with very low and very high temperatures resulting in a reduction in the energy and power capabilities. Very high temperatures can produce further complications and risks such as ‘thermal runaway’ which can result in the battery catching fire.

Greater Bay said its packs provide 18 times more heat exchange area than existing technology. This means that in very cold conditions, the pack temperature is able to be increased rapidly from -20°C to +25°C in only five minutes, making the technology operable in conditions previously thought unsuitable for lithium-ion batteries.

It is claimed that Greater Bay’s innovations in materials, electrochemistry, structure and controls also allow extremely fast charging whereby the battery can be charged from 0 to 80% in six minutes with a longer than average useful life of 10 years or 800 full cycles (for an ultimate useful life of 800,000 kilometres, relative to internal combustion engines estimated at 300-350 thousand kilometres).

According to Greater Bay its Phoenix battery will be in mass production during 2024 and is expected to be used in production vehicles by the end of that year.

Yet again, the battery industry seems to be not only overcoming obstacles with ease but also reducing the costs and increasing the benefits of batteries over internal combustion engines.