I have other articles that have talked about the advancement of battery technology. I have hinted at solid-state batteries being the technology of the future, and now I think I am right.
Samsung has been working with battery technology that will advance everything we currently know about Lithium battery tech. They are reaching the end of their research, and if conclusively it proves positive, here is what it could mean for cars like the Toyota Prius Prime.
Current Battery Problems With Lithium-Ion
It is no secret that electric cars that are using Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) are ticking time bombs. Telsa has had multiple cars catch fire and burn down, but they are not the only ones. GM has had the Volt burn down too. Pretty much any electric vehicle that has Li-Ion is susceptible to this issue. The sheer safety fact has been a significant problem with current Lithium tech.
Another issue that we have been facing with Lithium is a capacity loss. This capacity loss is due to dendrites. Dendrites are a crystal or crystalline mass with a branching tree-like structure. When the flow of electrons happens in the batteries between the anode and cathode (positive and negative) terminals, these dendrites form and cause the capacity loss.
The third problem we have also faced with Lithium tech is that currently, it needs a no oxygen environment to be produced. The current way Li-ion batteries are made is very costly, which translates into higher costs to the consumer.
These three issues, and the fact that current technology is not as energy-dense as it could be, give us a hazardous power source. Although Li-ion is the best power source, we have right now. That has changed.
Samsung Solid-State Batteries Are The "Triple-Crown" Problem Solver
Ah, the triple crown. Often we find this term in horse racing, but what does it mean for battery technology? Excellent question. It means that we are solving all the problems of current technology with further research and development. Here is how Samsung is doing that.
Lithium batteries were unsafe, fire hazards, solid-state changes that. The liquid electrolytes have been replaced with solid sulfide electrolytes. What this translates into is a safe battery. The batteries are far less likely to rupture or leak, which increases the safety factor. Crown one.
The next hurdle is the capacity loss. Even though companies like Tesla and Toyota have done a fantastic job with battery life, they are still far from perfect. The dendrites still form inside the batteries, and over time, we end up with a capacity loss. With the silver carbon layer that would be found in solid-state batteries, this would inhibit dendrites from forming and allow for optimal electron flow from the anode to cathode. Solid-state batteries would have no capacity loss over time. Or at least fo 1,000 cycles, according to Samsung. Crown two.
Crown three is where this gets interesting. Due to the makeup of the solid-state battery, the process to build it would be much different. No longer would it be required to make these batteries in an oxygen-free environment. The production cost could be lowered by as much as 40%. That is huge.
With these three things right here, Samsung effectively achieves the "triple-crown" of making everything about the current technology of Lithium better. But there is one thing I have not touched on just yet.
What Samsung's Technology Means For Toyota Prius Prime
This technology would not be specifically only for Prius Prime, but any car that currently uses Lithium technology. I do need to help you wrap your mind around why it would be beneficial for cars like Prius first.
Currently, Prius Prime only has a range of 25 miles on "electric-only." That is not that great, to be honest. The thing that solid-state batteries would provide the Prius Prime is a far more energy-dense source of power.
Battery power is measure in watt-hours per liter. Currently, gasoline has about 15 times more energy than Lithium does but only in the raw form. After we take into account that we only get about 40% use of gasoline energy, we can see that it makes sense to focus on battery tech.
If we could harness the full potential of Lithium technology, we could increase the range of which our electric cars travel exponentially. Let me put this into numbers so you can understand it better.
Solid-state, according to Samsung, could give us 9.65 times better energy output. That means your Prius Prime that only goes 25 miles right now could go 240 miles, respectively. This technology blows my mind.
Not only would we use far less gasoline, but we would now have a Prius that was even more amazing.
We are on the brink of a massive breakthrough with battery technology. I have been following this story over the past couple of years, and I am telling you solid-state batteries are the next quantum leap.
I cannot wait to see what solid-state batteries will do for the Prius Prime and all of the Toyota line up. I am confident this will be the ultimate gamechanger if Toyota should choose to use it in their cars.
That is all for today. I look forward to seeing you in the next story. Is Toyota Discontinuing The Prius?
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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 is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. 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 reporters