EV sales set to surge as batteries get better

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EV sales set to surge as batteries get better

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Electric vehicle sales are expected to surge in the near future as increasingly advanced EV batteries, the core component in electric cars, are developed.

Newer EV batteries are not only energy efficient but also high performing and will not only reduce the time it takes to fully charge a vehicle, but also allow it to travel further distances compared to the batteries currently on the market.

The EV battery market is growing quickly, with everyone from traditional tech companies to vacuum cleaner manufacturers and watchmakers hoping to come up with a the battery that charges the quickest.

Most recently, Japan’s Toshiba announced earlier this month that it has succeeded in developing a next-generation battery that can be fully charged in just six minutes.

With the fully charged Toshiba battery, a vehicle will be able to travel a distance of 320 kilometers (199 miles), which is the same as Tesla’s Model 3. The current batteries, however, take more than an hour to charge.

The key to the Japanese company’s success in significantly cutting back the recharging time while increasing capacity is the use of titanium niobium oxide in its anode material.

The company is planning to further develop the battery so that its range reaches 400 kilometers before commercializing it in 2019.

Even Israeli company StoreDot, which turned heads when it introduced a charger that could recharge a smartphone in 30 seconds, is working on developing an EV battery.

The business is the recipient of $60 million of investment from companies including Germany’s Daimler AG as well as Samsung Ventures, Norma Investments and Lucion Venture Capital as well as several Israeli and Chinese financial firms.

The Tel-Aviv based company is working on a battery made of organic compounds and nanomaterial that will result in a battery that can be fully charged in just five minutes and could travel 480 kilometers.

Honda and Nissan are developing a battery that can charge in just 15 minutes and travel 240 kilometers.

Dyson and watchmaker Swatch are also jumping in to the battery game. Dyson is working on a solid-state battery, which it is hoping to commercialize by 2020. Swatch is planning to introduce a battery that takes half the time to charge.

“It is likely that the year 2018 will be the point in time when we see a significant surge in the EV market thanks to innovative developments in battery technologies and the expansion of infrastructure,” said Kim Pil-su, automotive engineering professor at Daelim University.

While global competition is heating up, Korean companies seem to be falling a step behind when it comes to the ultra-fast recharging race as they are more focused on increasing capacity.

LG Chem, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation are currently competing to develop batteries with a range of 700 kilometers by 2020. The only Korean company that is showing an interest in ultra-fast charging is Hyundai Motor.

“If Korean companies fail to convert into battery recharging technologies, they could face a devastating crisis,” said Han Jang-hyun, a professor of automobiles at Daeduk College.

BY KIM YOO-KYOUNG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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