Samsung’s SDI battery subsidiary announced a new battery cell designed for use in electric vehicles that offers improved density to manage a max range of up to 372 miles on a full charge, with a quick charge capacity that will help it regain 310 miles or so of charge on just 20 minutes of charging. Unveiled at the North American International Auto Show for the first time, the new battery tech come with a 10 percent decrease in the number of units and weight required vs. current production battery units made by Samsung SDI.
Mass production isn’t set to begin until 2021, but the tech should arrive in time to supply the first crop of autonomous cars, which are also targeting street dates sometime within that year from a range of manufacturers. EV and self-driving are tied closely to one another, since both are crucial components for operating the kind of on-demand ride-sharing fleets planned by Ford, among others.
A 20-minute charge delivering that kind of range would help considerably with making EVs more practical for more drivers; it’s around the time you’d spend at a rest stop using the restroom and grabbing coffee or a snack, after all. By comparison, Tesla’s superchargers currently manage to provide around 170 miles of range on a half-hour charge, so Samsung’s planned tech could approximately double that.
Tesla’s long-term goal, according to CTO JB Straubel at the time of the Supercharger’s first unveiling, is to get charging times down to between five and 10 minutes, and it has been quietly boosting the maximum theoretical output of the stations themselves (though Tesla vehicle batteries are still limited to 120 kW in terms of how much power input they can accept).
Tesla produces its own batteries in partnership with Panasonic, and just began construction on its latest generation cells at its Gigafactory in Nevada, while Samsung’s new 21700 cylinder cell model is currently being used by “U.S. automobile startups” in their EVs, according to Samsung SDI. One of those startups is Lucid Motors, a new EV company with a lot of Tesla talent on board.