Nikola announces breakthrough battery technology

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Nikola Corporation has announced that it has developed a battery technology that could double the range of battery-electric vehicles worldwide and cost 50% less to produce than lithium-ion.

The technology encompasses the world’s first free-standing / self-supported electrode with a cathode that has 4x the energy density of lithium-ion. The Nikola prototype cell removes binder material and current collectors, enabling more energy storage within the cell. The energy density of the battery is 1,100 watt-hours per kg on the material level and 500 watt-hours per kg on the production cell level. Compared to lithium-ion cells, the Nikola prototype cell has 40% less weight and 50% less material cost per kWh.

This battery technology could increase the range of current EV passenger cars from 300 miles up to 600 miles with little or no increase to battery size and weight. The technology is also designed to operate in existing vehicle conditions. Moreover, cycling the cells over 2,000 times has shown acceptable end-of-life performance.

The benefits of using the new battery for Nikola trucks include a range of 800 miles fully loaded between charges for battery electric trucks, and over 1,000 miles between stops and top off in 15 minutes for hydrogen-electric fuel cell trucks. According to Nikola, their trucks could weigh 5,000 lbs. less than the competition for the same battery size.

Nikola will demonstrate the charging and discharging of the battery at the company’s Nikola World event in 2020.

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