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Korean manufacturer creates new material that could change electric vehicle batteries forever: ‘Expected to have a significant ripple effect’

Sara Klimek

Sep 27, 2023

The world’s fifth-largest EV battery manufacturer, South Korea’s SK On, recently announced it created a new material that could change the efficiency of solid-state batteries forever.

The project was completed in collaboration with Dankook University and resulted in patent applications for technology both in the country and abroad.

According to the report published in Advanced Functional Materials, the battery component has 70% higher lithium-ion conductivity than other batteries, and that means it will charge faster. The scientists estimate this innovation will increase the battery capacity by up to 25%, which drives down the time it takes to recharge. It may also improve EV mileage and the battery’s fire safety, per the company.

The partnership was able to complete this goal by altering the levels of a chemical compound called lithium lanthanum zirconium oxide in the battery. The team also made the battery more stable when exposed to air, which will increase its charging efficiency.

In addition, this battery can be used on numerous types of solid-state batteries, including the conventional nickel-cobalt-manganese cathodes as well as new innovations like lithium-sulfur batteries and lithium-air cells.

This development can increase the compound’s utility across different types of batteries, thus making it more competitive in the EV marketplace. Considering the demand for EVs jumped from 22,000 in 2011 to nearly 2 million a decade later, this advancement could benefit all EV manufacturers.

“The solid electrolyte with both ion conductivity and atmospheric stability is expected to have a significant ripple effect as it is an innovative technology for high-quality all-solid-state batteries,” said SK On executive vice president Choi Kyoung-hwan.

The company is still in the process of prototyping and developing solid-state batteries but expects to finish prototyping the model by 2026. Commercial batteries with the improved technology are expected to be released to the market in 2028.

The development is estimated to cost SK On over $352 billion, which includes a pilot production facility at the Daejeon Sejong Research Institute in South Korea.

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