Abandon Pack, Module or Both, IDTechEx Questions


BOSTON, Dec 10 2020 / PRNewswire / – There is a run to 1,000 km of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and beyond. For airplanes, this means safety and intercontinental travel from the longest possible battery lives. Meanwhile, the premature launch of vertical take-off air taxis will end in tears as they currently only have one hour of battery life. Longer range on the road means no more vehicles stop to charge. At sea, this means that energy independent solar boats can lead to energy independent vessels. Battery life is drastically reduced by the age of the battery, heat and cold, so more leeway is really valuable. See the IDTechEx report, “Li-ion Batteries 2020-2030”.

Increasing energy density involves packaging, not just cell chemistry. The new options are facilitated by batteries that last longer, with the million mile battery in the offing. Two approaches are favored to simplify the cell-module-packaging approach, which is reminiscent of the over-packaging of food in supermarkets. Tesla enlarges its cylindrical module and abandons the pack, sealing it permanently in a large structural part of the body. This is a great idea for a vertically integrated company like Tesla. It’s much more difficult for traditional OEMs who have to deal with suppliers. There are also issues related to second life and recyclability.

All the same, General Motors seems to be moving in this direction by integrating itself more and more vertically. Its Ultium battery pack uses a modular system, called cell-module-assemblies (CMA). Cells and modules remain the same with the combination of modules and pack design changing per vehicle, with the aim of allowing rapid entry into different vehicle segments. The CMA provides the mechanical structure of the vehicle and is the main electrical connection between the cells and the drive system. The modules have been designed to be able to accept either pockets or prism cells. See the IDTechEx report, “Materials for Electric Vehicles 2020-2030”.

In the alternative no module approach, MCLA claims to offer cell-to-pack since 2012. CATL, BYD and LG Chem will soon be doing the same in mass production. Up to 30% improvement in vehicle weight and range is mentioned. LG Chem has completed the development of its integrated Module Pack platform. It would seem that it can accommodate twice as many cells as conventional module platforms. Here the cost can decrease by 30% and the energy density increase by 10%. These are huge gains in terms of market value and resale value of the vehicles that use them. See the IDTechEx report, “Advanced Electric Cars 2020-2040”.

Does it stop there? Supercapacitors are conditioned in the same way as batteries and have replaced many lithium-ion batteries in micro-hybrid cars. Geely has made a strong commitment to large supercapacitors, partially replacing the batteries in their lightweight and full hybrid cars, and Skeleton Technology claims a $ 1 billion letter of intent from a major automaker. In terms of packaging, supercapacitors have a head start in not swelling and shrinking during the cycle, so a Lamborghini lab with MIT develops a supercapacitor body without module, without packaging, just self-healing. Imperial College London is competing, coining the term “massless energy,” which means a vehicle that does not allocate space or weight to energy storage, as the body becomes dual-use. Later versions of solid-state batteries should be stable during the cycle, so guess what might happen next. See IDTechEx reports, “Semiconductor and Polymer Batteries 2020-2030: Technology, Patents, Predictions, Actors” and “Supercapacitor Materials and Formats 2020-2040”.

For more information and to view IDTechEx’s full energy storage and electric vehicle research portfolio, please visit www.IDTechEx.com/Research.

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its research, subscription and advisory products, helping you take advantage of emerging technologies. for more information, contact [email protected] or visit www.IDTechEx.com.

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