In the past 10 years, battery technology has made massive strides in becoming better. The most recent progress on battery tech is with the Tesla 4680 Cell and Toyota Motors (along with other companies) road testing solid-state battery technology to bring to market.
What is this "better battery," and how close to the market is it? In this article, I will answer all I can about Lithium Sulfur and the promises it brings to the table.
What is Lithium Sulfur?
Lithium-Sulfur or Li-S is another sibling in the lithium-based battery family. 3D graphene-based battery was kept a secret by the Lyten company developing this technology for the US military.
Lithium-Sulfur batteries are again just another sibling in the lithium family. Solid-State batteries are also in that family; however, each lithium variant is slightly different. That makes each rendition a bit better than the previous one.
What Is So Great About Lithium-Sulfur?
Several things make Li-S a fantastic feat of technology. Solid State technology is impressive, with better energy density than lithium-ion, which carries about 250-270 wh/kg. Li-S batteries are showing a gravimetric density of 900 wh/kg, smashing Li-Ion.
Solid-state is still a major contender in all of this thought. According to an increasingly popular battery manufacturer Quantummscape, their Solid-state battery has anywhere from 400-600 wh/kg.
While that is a significant advantage over Li-Ion, Li-S still shows more available energy density and has other benefits. With sustainable power for over 1400 cycles, Li-S is no joke. If you think about 1400 cycles and what that means, here is how it can be broken down.
If a company, say Toyota, put Li-S into a car that goes 500 miles per charge and you can do that 1400 times, that is 700,000 miles. Think about that for a moment. Have you ever driven a vehicle more than 2 or 300,000 miles? Some people do it, yes, but how often does that happen outside of the trucking world?
Another thing to consider is that these batteries are significantly smaller and lighter than Li-Ion by a wide margin. More lightweight and smaller could mean that vehicles get packed with more batteries initially. If that happened, we could see ranges of 1,000 miles or more on a single charge, and that is incredible.
Other notable items that give Li-S are:
- Below internal combustion engine (ICE) cost parity
- Safe and effective operation in environments as cold as -30 ˚C to as high as 60 ˚C enabling reduced system-level costs
- Flexible and scalable pack sizing, enabling Lyten to accommodate the unique needs of a wide range of automotive platforms
- Can be produced in cylindrical, pouch, and prismatic formats
- On-shore cell manufacturing facilities proximate to OEMs
- Extended range and/or increased payloads
- Faster charge times of less than 20 minutes
- No conflict minerals
Lyten says that this battery technology can be available as soon as 2025 for the 2025-2026 vehicle model year. Lyten does not have "packs" ready for EVs, which is the hurdle they are crossing now. However, this battery technology has a wide range of practical purposes, including aerospace and mass transportation.
I think that Elon Musk of Tesla Motors and Akio Toyoda of Toyota Motor are both aware of this technology but are taking their own approach to whether this technology will work for their companies.
I think that this battery technology shows incredible promise and that we could see the next generation of EVs be our "savior" in solving the oil crisis we are in currently.
That is all for this one. More to come on Li-S batteries as soon as I hear more from Lyten. Thank you all for reading and remember, Today's Adventure is Tomorrow's Story.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporter.