The mobility rEVolution: High-voltage battery cathode for longer driving ranges


Argonne National Laboratory researchers have identified a fundamental source of instability in nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide (NMC) cathodes: the domain boundaries that are present in single-crystalline cathode particles. They have also developed a method to produce boundary-free single crystals, which could pave the way to longer-lasting, safer batteries. “We now have guidelines that battery manufacturers can use to prepare cathode material that is boundary free and works at high voltage,” said Khalil Amine, an Argonne distinguished fellow. The team looked at cathodes made from both coated polycrystals and single crystals and subjected them to extensive analysis. It turned out that what they had believed were single crystals, as evidenced by electron and X-ray diffraction microscopy, actually had boundaries inside. Their calculations at the atomic scale also showed how boundaries lead to oxygen release at high voltage and therefore performance decline. They described their findings in “Origin and regulation of oxygen redox instability in high-voltage battery cathodes,” which was recently published in Nature.

Shell has agreed to team up with Israel-based Driivz to help accelerate the build-out of new charging locations in more than 10 European countries. It will use the Driivz EV charging and energy management platform, which provides real-time monitoring of chargers and remote self-healing capabilities. The Driivz platform is hardware-agnostic and supports many charger types and standards, providing Shell with a solution that is future-ready,  backwards-compatible for all OCPP protocols, and capable of roaming with other EV charging networks. The Driivz solution will integrate with Shell’s driver-facing “Shell Recharge” app. Shell’s ambition is to globally operate more than 500,000 charge points by 2025 and 2,500,000 by 2030.

Nissan has agreed to team up with US tech firm Femata Energy to offer bidirectional charging in the United States. The Femata Energy FE-15 charger has been approved by the Japanese carmaker as the first-ever bidirectional charger for use with the Nissan LEAF in the United States. The FE-15 bidirectional charger is available for commercial and government fleet owners. Nissan said that usage of the approved charger will not affect the Nissan LEAF’s battery warranty. The Nissan LEAF is currently the only fully electric passenger vehicle in the US market that is able to supply energy to the grid during peak energy demand times.

BMW and E.ON have launched a pilot project in Germany for bidirectional charging that will focus on the interplay between EVs and PV. Two families in the Munich area are currently testing the bidirectional charging technology in their everyday lives. Charging solutions and control boxes from E.ON were installed in the two households and tested with specially equipped BMW i3 vehicles. As part of the pilot project, the partners are examining the interplay between e-car batteries and PV systems. Excess electricity from the PV roof systems is used to charge the electric car and not fed into the grid. The companies said the PV system pays for itself even more quickly if the vehicle batteries are included for greater independence from the grid.

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Svolt has confirmed that it will open a second battery cell plant in Germany. The new site at Lauchhammer, Brandenburg, is a former wind turbine plant owned by Vestas. The battery cells produced in Lauchhammer will be processed for the use in EVs such as at the future SVOLT site in Heusweiler, Saarland, with a planned production capacity of 24 GWh. The site in Lauchhammer will have a capacity of 16 GWh per year and will start production in 2025, said a company spokesperson. Svolt has not reveaöed which cells will be made in Brandenburg and Saarland.

Schneider Electric has launched a new EV charger that connects to home management systems to enable control of charging times and the monitoring of CO2 emissions. Its EVlink Home Smart charger can monitor EV power consumption in real time, predict spending, and set budgets in four different modes: “charge now,” “green charging,” “cost effective,” and “customized schedule.” A “green mode” will be available from next year, allowing homeowners to fully use their self-generated solar power. When integrated with Schneider Electric’s Wiser Home Energy Management system, homeowners can control all of their electrical devices and monitor their consumption through a single application. In addition, the Wiser App also provides updates on CO2 consumption, allowing homeowners to make better decisions on future savings.

Magenta Mobility has agreed to partner with Indian e-commerce retailer Flipkart to deploy 400 electric cargo vehicles for its fleet in Delhi. The move is aligned with Flipkart’s plans to introduce more than 25,000 EVs by 2030. Magenta Mobility operates an electric fleet of more than 500 vehicles in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Mumbai. The company plans to deploy a fleet of more than 500 EVs this year in Delhi, in order to meet the needs of organizations transitioning to clean mobility.

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