Updated: May 27, 2019
Electric carmakers have long been clamoring for a battery breakthrough that will improve the range of their vehicles while also extending their lifespans. Innolith, a Swiss startup, says its new high-density lithium-ion batteries can do just that.
The company claims to have made the world’s first 1,000 Wh/kg rechargeable battery. By comparison, the batteries that Tesla uses in its Model 3 — the so-called 2170 cells — are an estimated 250 Wh/kg; the company plans to eventually push that to 330 Wh/kg.
A battery with that density would be capable of powering an electric car for 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) on a single charge. That’s far greater than the current lithium-ion batteries on the market today. Tesla’s batteries, which are produced by Panasonic, can support 330 miles of range in the most expensive models. Most major automakers are aiming for a similar range in their electric vehicles.
Innolith uses “wet” liquid electrolytes in its lithium-ion batteries, but there’s one major difference: the company replaces the organic (and highly flammable) solvent containing the electrolytes with an inorganic substance that’s more stable and less flammable.
The organic materials found in most lithium-ion batteries are the principle source of side reactions, which, over time, can consume the active materials in the battery and turn the whole closed-loop system into something “non-productive.
Innolith claims its new battery has done away with this problem.