Despite the many benefits of electric vehicles, the charging time remains a deal-breaker, making them stick to ICE cars. They prefer the speed at which they pump fuel into the tank at the filling station. This turn-off, however, is going to be short-lived as an Israeli company, StoreDot has unveiled its new battery that promises under 10 minutes of charging.
With a fast-charging battery like this prototype and charging infrastructure maturing, StoreDot might have dealt the death blow to range anxiety.
StoreDot describes the battery as the world’s first silicon-dominant battery. It uses cylindrical cells with the 4680 format. If ‘4680’ sounds familiar, it is the same format Tesla uses in its new tabless battery. The number means the cell is 46 mm wide and 80 mm tall, both dimensions more than what current batteries use.
According to the Israeli company, the battery has been work-in-progress for three and has yielded five cell design patents. StoreDot focused on enhancing throughput, safety, and performance.
There are talks of a production partnership with Eve Energy in China, as StoreDot targets 2024 for mass production when the battery will be ready for use by automotive companies. The first generation is targeted at the automotive industry first.
StoreDot claims it is in advanced discussions with several automakers with a global presence on supplying the new batteries.
CEO of StoreDot, Dr. Doron Myersdorf, said: “Achieving the goal of extreme fast charging a cylindrical cell in only 10 minutes has been on StoreDot’s technology roadmap from day one. It’s highly significant that we can offer Electric Vehicle manufacturers the choice of cell formats, utilizing our XFC technology that will overcome the current barriers to EV [electric vehicle] ownership: range and charging anxiety.”
Apart from this battery, StoreDot is working on technologies that give solid-state batteries extreme energy density and longer working life. The solid-state battery will be ready for industrial-scale production by 2028.
From its location in Herzliya, StoreDot has been working on lithium-ion batteries since 2012. It has been investigating how nanomaterials, organic and inorganic compounds can make batteries charge faster. StoreDot aims to make the popular lithium-ion battery better by bringing down charging times from hours to minutes.
How StoreDot achieved the lower charging time
StoreDot replaced the graphite in the cell’s anode with metalloid nanoparticles like silicon. This step solved some of the safety and cycle life issues, and damages during the charging process.
Tesla did the same with its tabless battery by using silicon to reduce costs, increase energy storing capacity and simplify the manufacturing process.
The company demoed its XFC tech in a battery for the first time in 2019 by using a two-wheel vehicle that charged to the full in five minutes. The following year, it demoed again using a drone that also charged fully in five minutes. By 2021, StoreDot had launched engineering samples.
StoreDot has also worked on the software side of charging its battery, filing a patent application for a system that could boost charging efficiency by doing real-time analysis of the charging station and use the data to adjust the rate at which the battery accepts charge.
Investors and StoreDot aim
StoreDot has a couple of financial backers, including big names like BP Ventures, a subsidiary of BP, Daimler AG, Japanese TDK, and Samsung Ventures. Investments have totaled $130 million so far.
To improve the EV battery landscape, StoreDot is prepared to share its technology with other organizations. This is aimed at accelerating the rate of electric vehicles worldwide and reduce pollution due to road transport.
Here is how Myersdorf describes his company’s aim: “We want to work with and support the global community, including automotive manufacturers and infrastructure providers in their missions as well, especially when the industry is facing a number of charging infrastructure deployment challenges, not least the global semiconductor shortage.”
Other StoreDot endeavours
Interestingly, StoreDot has already got the nods from big names outside the automotive industry. It has secured approval from NASA to carry out what it calls a “space-based research and development program” into new battery materials.
The research will take place on the famous International Space Station as a part of Israel’s Rakia program. The program is a joint venture between the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ramon Foundation. It will send an astronaut to the space station in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and conduct about 200 hours of experiment in a zero-gravity environment.
SpaceX is a sister company to Tesla. The two companies often share ideas, like using the same stainless steel materials for the Starship and Cybertruck.