Panasonic has announced that it is working on a new technology that will allow it to increase the energy density of its battery cells by 20% by the year 2030. An important step forward that would allow achieving 100 more kilometers of autonomy if applied, for example, to a Tesla Model Y using a battery of the same size.
Both Panasonic and its partner Tesla see this increase in energy density as a key step to increase autonomy as a first option or, in cars that do not require more autonomy, to achieve greater interior space in the vehicle’s cabin. In addition, without modifying the autonomy positively or negatively, it would allow the construction of lighter electric cars.
How Panasonic is going to achieve +20% autonomy in its batteries
The line of work that Panasonic is following is focused on modifying the chemistry of its cells so that each of these cells, independently, can work at a higher voltage without the performance of the batteries being affected. The most common is to speak of gravimetric density, which relates the energy storage capacity to the weight of the battery, but in this case, Panasonic speaks of volumetric energy density.
Precisely for this reason, +20% energy density would mean going from 750 Wh/L, which is what is now being achieved in the best Panasonic battery cells, to an impressive 900 Wh/L. And from Panasonic they have indicated that it has been in their plans, for several years, to achieve this figure of energy density. However, they did not know when they could achieve it and now, finally, they already plan that this jump will take place in the year 2030.
Panasonic has already enabled Tesla to make great strides in battery technology. Right now the electric carmaker is moving from the 2170 cells to the new 4680 cells . This is already going to imply a substantial improvement in the performance of their batteries, but this new chemistry that they have planned, and which they assure will be available in 2030, will be an even greater technological leap. But neither Tesla nor Panasonic are the only companies fully committed to the technological race to develop battery cells for electric cars. CATL, BYD, and other companies are also introducing important developments in this regard.
This very week, for example, we have been able to learn that CATL is working on LFP batteries with manganese to achieve cheaper electric cars, but with good autonomy. After all, it is an evolution of the cheap LFP batteries to achieve, with a slightly modified chemistry, a range closer to that of an NCM battery. All the big technology companies dedicated to batteries are investing huge amounts in developing more advanced chemistries.