Nano-composite silicon anode promises EV range boost & 10-min charging
We've been covering the exploration and development of silicon battery anodes for well over a decade, but most of the breakthroughs have come at laboratory level. The past few years have seen the technology moving toward commercialization, and Silicon Valley battery materials company Sila announced this month that its Titan Silicon anode is now available. The new anode is already set to feature in the upcoming all-electric Mercedes-Benz G-Class and promises the potential for range increases of 20% and dramatic charging time decreases down to as low as 10 minutes.
Sila announced Titan Silicon availability last week, calling the technology a high-performance nano-composite silicon that's engineered to replace common graphite anodes on a mass scale. It estimates that the alternative anode tech could increase battery capacity enough to boost electric vehicle range by up to 20%, representing the potential addition of more than 100 miles (161 km) in current market range leaders like the 516-mile (830-km) 2023 Lucid Air Grand Touring. It believes future iterations could double those gains.
"Titan Silicon is the highest performing nano-composite silicon in the market today," said Gene Berdichevsky, Sila cofounder and CEO. "Our battery and materials teams are constantly iterating and improving upon our chemistry to deliver the best and most cost-efficient results possible. With the wide adoption of EVs, consumers are looking for best-in-class solutions that deliver best-in-class performance, and our solutions provide just that: longer range and faster charge."
As far as the faster charging goes, Sila quotes a charging time as low as 20 minutes for 10 to 80%. That doesn't sound any faster than current-generation batteries, such as the 18-minute 10 to 80% time that comes with Hyundai's 800-V ultra-fast charging, but Sila says its 20-minute time would represent an improvement for packs that currently take 60 minutes to charge that same 10-to-80% gap. It believes it will be able to halve that figure down to 10 minutes in the future.
Sila also points out that Titan Silicon is a market-proven graphite anode replacement material, already in use in the screen-less Whoop 4.0 fitness band, which advertises a four- to five-day battery runtime. Plans are also underway for the technology to feature in Mercedes-Benz electric vehicle fleet, starting with the all-electric G-Class Mercedes previewed in 2021.
Several months after revealing the 2021 Concept EQG to preview its upcoming battery-driven 4x4, Mercedes announced in May 2022 that the production version would feature Sila's anode tech. The German luxury automaker first developed a strategic partnership with Sila in 2019 and believes the nano-composite silicon anode will deliver a 20 to 40% boost in battery energy density, potentially reaching levels up to 800 Wh/l at cell level. The companies are targeting mid decade for the launch of a range-extended EQG loaded with Sila anodes.
Sila's Titan Silicon availability announcement this month came after it hit a scaling milestone, completing development of new equipment at its Moses Lake manufacturing facility in Washington state. It will begin mass production at the facility in the second half of 2024, with plans of building enough anode material to power one million EVs within five years' time.
The Titan Silicon anode is a drop-in solution designed to work with any type of battery cell form – cylindrical, pouch or prismatic – and integrate neatly into battery manufacturing systems. It's designed to be used for either full or partial graphite replacement, depending upon the cell or auto manufacturer's performance goals and product development timeframe.
The video clip below offers a quick automotive backgrounder for Sila tech.
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Note the dates are well into the future when other chemistries will be available including Li-air, LiS, better choices and more likely.
Silicon can be a good thing but many have tried, failed to keep them for running long as they keep breaking up, etc other than tiny amounts.
Since there are potential hostilities looming with the main source of lithium, China, the fact they don't require the lithium could be an important thing.
" With the wide adoption of EVs..." No, not really. Despite the gummint's efforts to force people to buy economy cars at luxury car prices, it ain't gonna happen.
Just more greenwash.