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Scientists invent ‘game-changing’ electric car battery that never loses charge capacity

Solid-state batteries heralded as the ‘next big thing’ for electric vehicles by top BMW engineer

Anthony Cuthbertson
Wednesday 14 December 2022 07:44 GMT
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Scientists have discovered a way to build next-generation batteries for electric cars that do not lose any capacity, even after hundreds of charging cycles.

An international research team from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia and Yokohama National University in Japan claim the breakthrough could provide a viable and vastly superior alternative to current battery technologies.

The researchers investigated a new type of positive electrode material with “unprecedented stability” that can be used in durable solid-state batteries.

Solid-state batteries have been hailed as “game-changing” for their potential to overcome the technical limitations of lithium-ion battery packs that are currently used to power the majority of consumer electronics – from smartphones to electric cars.

However, until now solid-state batteries have faced their own limitations relating to durability. Repeated charges can cause irreversible damage to the interface between the electrodes and the electrolyte, making them inappropriate for commercial use.

The new battery was able to retain its capacity of 300 mAh with no degradation over hundreds of charge-discharge cycles in lab tests by combining the positive electrode with an appropriate solid electrolyte and negative electrode.

“The absence of capacity fading over 400 cycles clearly indicates the superior performance of this material compared with those reported for conventional all-solid-state cells with layered materials,” said Associate Professor Neeraj Sharma from UNSW.

“This finding could drastically reduce battery costs. The development of practical high-performance solid-state batteries can also lead to the development of advanced electric vehicles.”

Solid-state batteries have been described as the “next big thing” in battery development by one of BMW’s top engineers. Simon Erhard recently claimed that lithium-ion batteries had “peaked” in terms of performance, predicting that solid-state batteries would eventually replace them as the industry standard.

A paper detailing the latest breakthrough, titled ‘A near dimensionally invariable high-capacity positive electrode material’, was published in the scientific journal Nature Materials on Tuesday.

The researchers now hope that refining the electrode materials will make it possible to commercially manufacture solid-state batteries for electric vehicles that can match current technologies in terms of price, safety, capacity and charging speed.

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