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Monday - March 28, 2022

Creating Safe and Efficient Batteries for Electric Vehicles

To reduce the carbon footprint of vehicles on our environment, many carmakers have pledged significant investments over the next 10-15 years to further expand their lineup of electric and hybrid vehicles. Outside of the automotive industry, there has also been a trend towards cordless, battery-operated equipment. This has placed a strain on the industry to source the materials required to manufacturer batteries and do so in a sustainable manner. There has also been new research into alternative materials and formats to create safer solutions with a higher energy density. Finally, being able to easily manufacture new batteries and scale up production are important factors when OEMs look to reduce costs and expand access to Electric Vehicles (EVs).

Advancing EV Battery Technology

There are three main types of rechargeable batteries that have been used by OEMs today: Lithium-ion, Nickel-Metal Hydride and Lead-Acid batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are most prevalent in current EVs because they deliver the highest performance. Existing lithium-ion technology contains electrolytes in liquid or gel format that can potentially overheat. Car and battery manufacturers are beginning to explore solid-state battery solutions which can minimize this risk and also enable ultra-fast charging.

Another issue plaguing the industry is sourcing materials – specifically metals that are becoming increasingly expensive. Mining rare earth metals such as cobalt, can have disastrous effects on both the environment and socioeconomic conditions. New investment in materials research is focusing on reducing or eliminating the need for cobalt and developing new methods to efficiently recycle used batteries.

Economies of EV Battery Recycling

The common process to recycle batteries is complex and expensive and generally economical only when units contain cobalt. Without this valuable metal, the process to recover lithium is more expensive than mining new material. Development of cobalt-free batteries for EVs may deter recycling efforts initially, however, new techniques are being studied that promise to preserve the cathode crystals which can be resold at higher margins.

Automotive Grade ICs for Efficient Power Management

Energy dense batteries will need to precisely monitor and manage power exchange within EVs in order to maximize safety and efficiency. Our subsidiary, Ablic, supplies automotive grade integrated circuits such as linear regulators, voltage detectors and Li-ion protection ICs with low power consumption and high accuracy. Through technology improvements in batteries and power management in electric powertrains, we can reduce the effects of climate change by increasing adoption of EVs. Interested in how else we can support electric vehicles? Discover our EV charging solutions.

Christian Voegerl Christian Voegerl
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