US based zero-emission truck start-up, Nikola has announced its working on a new battery that it claims it has a record energy density of 1,100 watt-hours per kg on the material level and 500 watt-hours per kg on the production cell level.
Nikola says the prototype cell is the first battery that removes binder material and current collectors, enabling more energy storage within the cell, while the company says it believes it will pass penetration standards and as a result reduce the potential for vehicle fires.
The new Nikola battery technology would potentially increase the range of Nikola’s battery electric trucks could now be up to 1300km fully loaded between charges.
As a result of the new battery tech Nikola trucks could weigh up to 2.2 tonnes less than the competition if same battery size was kept, which equates to a 40 percent reduction in weight and a 50 per cent material cost reduction per kWh compared with current lithium-ion batteries
It also has a benefit for Nikola’s planned hydrogen-electric fuel cell trucks which the company claims could now surpass 1600km between stops and top off in 15 minutes
Nikola says the new technology means this will be the world’s first free-standing electrode automotive battery
With little or no increase to battery size and weight. Nikola also says that the technology will operate in existing vehicle conditions, while it claims the new tech battery has shown strong end-of-life performance.
The company also claims it’s new cell technology is environmentally friendly and easy to recycle. Nikola says that while conventional lithium-ion cells contain elements that are toxic and expensive, the new technology will have a positive impact on the earth’s resources, landfills and recycling plants.
Nikola has also announced it has entered into a letter of intent to acquire a key battery engineering team to help bring the new battery to pre-production and as a result of this it will add 15 PhDs and five master’s degree team members. Nikola says that currently confidentiality and security reasons, prevent it revealing additional details of the acquisition but it says these will be revealed at Nikola World 2020, which is expected to be held later in the year, depending on Covid 19 Crisis issues and delays.
“This is the biggest advancement we have seen in the battery world,” said Trevor Milton, CEO of Nikola Motor Company.