New battery technology could extend electric vehicle range and reduce charging time.
New battery technology could extend electric vehicle range and reduce charging time.
( Source: Public Domain / Unsplash)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES Fraunhofer Institute developing battery with range of 1,000 km

Editor: Florian Richert

Munich-based research organisation, The Fraunhofer Institute has achieved a technological breakthrough in partnership with the Netherlands Organization for Applied Sciences. Using a technology called Spatial Atom Layer Deposition (SALD), electric vehicle batteries could become more powerful and durable, providing a range beyond 1,000 kilometres.

One of the biggest hurdles to bringing electric vehicles to the mass market is battery life. With the Tesla Model S offering the longest range of around 500 km per charge, electric vehicles aren’t yet suitable for long journeys.

However, this breakthrough could mark the beginning of sustainable electric driving, with SALD batteries offering twice the range and shorter charging times.

What is Spatial Atom Layer Deposition?

SALD is a new approach to a process called atomic layer deposition (ALD), which is a technique for applying thin layers of film to a variety of materials for the purpose of energy conservation and storage.
With spatial atomic layer deposition, the purge steps of the layering process are no longer necessary, making deposition rates a hundred times quicker. SALD can also be performed at ambient temperatures, which makes the process more cost-effective.

Battery charging at five-times the current speed

In the production of electric batteries, the SALD process provides a thin nano-coating on the battery, so it can store more energy without becoming larger or heavier. The battery can also be charged five-times quicker with a ten-minute charge providing a charge level of 80 percent.
With SALD nano-coating, the performance of lithium-ion batteries is significantly improved due to the creation of Artificial Solid Electrolyte Interphase (A-SEI). In a press release, SALD CEO, Frank Verhage said: ‘‘It is the same finding (as with Elon Musk's development direction for Tesla) that the battery cells have to be fundamentally further developed by significantly improving the ion flow between the cathode and anode in order to achieve ground-breaking progress.’’

Paving the way for future innovations

In theory, the nano-coating should work on all batteries made from cathode materials, which means that further battery innovations could be realised in the future. In the short-term, the service life of the batteries could be significantly extended compared to conventional batteries. It’s estimated that SALD batteries could be used in electric vehicles as soon as 2022, with Verhage confirming that company is already in contact with various car manufacturers.