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Power Transportation Hardware Technology

Samsung Unveils New Electric Car Batteries For Up To 430 Miles of Range (electrek.co) 90

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Electrek: At the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA Cars 2017) this week, Samsung's battery division, Samsung SDI, showcases a new "Multifunctional battery pack" solution to enable more range in electric vehicles as the Korean company tries to carve itself a bigger share of the growing automotive battery market. Most established automakers, like Nissan with the LEAF or even GM with the more recent Chevy Bolt EV, have been using large prismatic cells to build their electric vehicle battery packs. Tesla pioneered a different approach using thousands of individual smaller cylindrical li-ion battery cells in each pack. Earlier this year, Samsung unveiled its own '2170' battery cell to compete with Tesla/Panasonic. Now they are claiming that they can reach an impressive energy density by using those cells in new modules: "'Multifunctional battery pack' of Samsung SDI attracted the most attention. Its users can change the number of modules as they want as if they place books on a shelf. For example, if 20 modules are installed in a premium car, it can go 600 to 700 kilometers. If 10 to 12 modules are mounted on a regular sedan, it can run up to 300 kilometers. This pack is expected to catch the eyes of automakers, because they can design a car whose mileage may vary depending on how many modules of a single pack are installed."

Samsung Unveils New Electric Car Batteries For Up To 430 Miles of Range

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @07:36PM (#55192111)

    So it also works as a road flare in case of emergency?

  • by deviated_prevert ( 1146403 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @07:53PM (#55192209) Journal
    The packs are not made from all the recycled Samsung cell phones.
  • Relevant questions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @07:53PM (#55192211)

    Compared to existing batteries:

    1) How much does it cost?
    2) How fast can you charge it?
    3) Are any affordable cars going to support it?

    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @08:10PM (#55192283) Homepage

      Beat me to the punch ;)

      Gravimetric energy density is one of the least important aspects these days. Back in the lead-acid days, improving it it was a huge deal because lead-acids made cars impractically heavy for a reasonable range. Those days are gone. As noted in this post: [slashdot.org]

      The base curb weight [tesla.com] of the Tesla Model 3, according to the official press kit, is 3549 lbs, which is 1610kg. 1730kg is the LR version, the heavier version. The BMW 3-Series ranges from [wikipedia.org] 1475-1770kg. The A4 ranges from [wikipedia.org] 1410-1695 kg. I can't find an official total range for the C300, but find values ranging from 1630 kg [wikipedia.org] to 1688kg [edmunds.com] to 1695kg [usnews.com] to 1715kg [topgear.com]. While the 1630kg is described as the "base weight" (analogous to the M3's 1610kg), I have no clue what the heaviest C300 config is, there could easily be configurations heavier than the 1715kg one.

      To sum up:
      Tesla Model 3: 1610-1730kg
      BMW 3-Series: 1475-1770kg
      Audi A4: 1410-1695kg
      Mercedes C300: 1630-1715+kg

      To repeat: The Tesla Model 3's curb weight comes in at pretty much the same range as other midrange compact sedans (BMW 3-Series, Audi A4, Mercedes C300, etc).

      • When you are trying to squeeze out as much range as possible, curb weight reduction is very important. How it compares with ICE weight is meaningless.
        • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Thursday September 14, 2017 @03:52AM (#55193625) Homepage

          Actually, it's really not. Note the above with the Model 3, for example: adding ~41% more range from batteries increases the vehicle mass by only 7%, which in turn translates to a loss of range at highway speeds of 2-3% 41% vs. 2-3%; it's not that meaningful. It'd be more like 5% for city driving, but then again, nobody cares about EV range in city driving - EVs go much further in city driving regardless, and who drives 310+ miles in-town-only per day?

          • Actually, it's really not. Note the above with the Model 3, for example: adding ~41% more range from batteries increases the vehicle mass by only 7%, which in turn translates to a loss of range at highway speeds of 2-3% 41% vs. 2-3%; it's not that meaningful. It'd be more like 5% for city driving, but then again, nobody cares about EV range in city driving - EVs go much further in city driving regardless, and who drives 310+ miles in-town-only per day?

            Sure, if you limit your scope to those who don't care about range, then range doesn't matter. But if you are trying to increase range, vehicle weight does matter.

        • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday September 14, 2017 @08:00AM (#55194197) Homepage Journal

          When you are trying to squeeze out as much range as possible, curb weight reduction is very important.

          It's less important than you think. Mass matters little on long trips, unless you have poor throttle control. And EVs have regen, so if you drive correctly, it matters less than you think it does in the city, too.

          How it compares with ICE weight is meaningless.

          False. Totally false. How it compares with ICE weight is totally relevant at all times. Making a car more massive means you need more tire to pull the same number of lateral Gs, which means more rolling resistance which means poorer economy. As such, EVs tend to have narrow tires which compromise handling. Even without exotic materials, you can build a sports car under 3,000 pounds with a gasoline engine.

          People commonly described the original Prius as handling like a 1970s land yacht. It wallowed, it slid sideways going over cracked pavement in a turn, and it didn't really want to turn. Making a vehicle heavy and compromising its traction is always a down side. The up sides might well outweigh that, but a lighter vehicle is always going to be more fun to drive. It's going to remain relevant as long as we are permitted to drive ourselves.

          • When you are trying to squeeze out as much range as possible, curb weight reduction is very important.

            It's less important than you think. Mass matters little on long trips, unless you have poor throttle control. And EVs have regen, so if you drive correctly, it matters less than you think it does in the city, too.

            How it compares with ICE weight is meaningless.

            False. Totally false. How it compares with ICE weight is totally relevant at all times. Making a car more massive means you need more tire to pull the same number of lateral Gs, which means more rolling resistance which means poorer economy. As such, EVs tend to have narrow tires which compromise handling. Even without exotic materials, you can build a sports car under 3,000 pounds with a gasoline engine.

            People commonly described the original Prius as handling like a 1970s land yacht. It wallowed, it slid sideways going over cracked pavement in a turn, and it didn't really want to turn. Making a vehicle heavy and compromising its traction is always a down side. The up sides might well outweigh that, but a lighter vehicle is always going to be more fun to drive. It's going to remain relevant as long as we are permitted to drive ourselves.

            A Tesla weighs what a Tesla weighs. Its range is a function of its capacity, curb weight, and aerodynamics. It doesn't matter what ICE cars weigh. You might compare to other EVs instead. They could be heavier, or lighter than an ICE, but that doesn't matter because the Tesla weighs what it must. ICE car weights are irrelevant. If ICE cars got heavier tomorrow, Tesla would perform no differently.

            And weight does matter for range, no matter how much you want to ignore it. You'll notice that the most fuel

            • A Tesla weighs what a Tesla weighs. Its range is a function of its capacity, curb weight, and aerodynamics. It doesn't matter what ICE cars weigh. You might compare to other EVs instead.

              You might, but in reality, people are going to compare to all the available options which might fit their needs, not just the most similar ones.

      • by torkus ( 1133985 )

        Volumetric efficiency, and battery cost is king. Charge/discharge rates and battery life (capacity loss rate) are secondary but important

        An EV being somewhat heavier isn't a significant hinderance (within bounds of course, a 5000kg sedan isn't going to go over well) since the energy normally lost to accelerate a heavier car comes back via regenerative braking.

        However, fitting enough battery capacity for good range at a reasonable cost is what it comes down to. If the batteries were a few 100's of kh heavi

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@NOSpam.world3.net> on Thursday September 14, 2017 @08:00AM (#55194203) Homepage Journal

      From what I can tell it's nothing revolutionary chemistry-wise. They adopted the round cell form-factor similar to what Panasonic/Tesla use, but the real innovation here is that the battery is modular. You can relatively easily add and remove capacity, meaning you can build identical cars on your production line and then fit whatever size battery the customer wants at the last minute. Customers can also pay for upgrades later, or even rent some extra capacity.

      So the battery itself isn't that interesting, it's the BMS (battery management system) and mechanical construction that is quite clever.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @08:03PM (#55192253) Homepage

    .... is not Wh/kg. It's $/kWh. That is by far the number one aspect for increasing adoption. Tesla for example gets a constant stream of companies pushing new battery technologies, wanting to talk about every aspect except for that one: cost per unit energy. They're always asked to cut straight to the chase.

    Of course, we're not even given Wh/kg here in this article.

    After cost per kilowatt hour, the number two factor is longevity. Because it correlates directly with cost. Generally it means you have to have shallow cycles (low DoD) if the battery isn't durable, meaning more batteries. In particular, longevity in varying temperature and charging condtions is important. In short, longevity works out to just another aspect of cost.

    Barring some unusual problems, cell safety is usually #3 or #4. Not higher, because failures can, and already are, controlled. See for example fire tests of Tesla powerwalls [electrek.co]. A combination of physical isolation, active quench (circulating coolant), passive quench (coolant / structure thermal mass, expansion space, venting), and a wide range of other mechanisms mean that you really have to pull out all the stops to burn the packs; there have been Teslas which burned to the ground [electrek.co], down to smouldering wrecks, still without managing to ignite the pack.

    (Honestly, it amazes me that it's considered acceptable to store massive amounts of gasoline just in one big open tank - no isolation / compartmentalization / quench systems. Just dump it in and there you go! Not surprising that there's ~200k car fires in the US alone every year)

    The other big competitor with safety is power density - the mix of ion mobility (how fast it's physically possible to charge / discharge the cell) and efficiency (how much heat you have to remove from the cells to do so). The heat removal rate is also affected by the heat tolerance. Charge speeds are a more significant limiting factor to the number of purchases than range, and the power output of the packs and high torque they allow are one of the big selling points of EVs.

    Heck, Wh/kg (gravimetric energy density) isn't even the most important energy density measure. Practical EVs are not limited by their weights - heck, the Model 3 SR slots right into the middle of its class (compact midrange sedans in their various configurations, and the LR, while on the heavier side, still has some heavier ICE competitors). Their ranges are limited by how many cells you can physically fit into the pack without making the skateboard unreasonably bulky. For example, the Model 3 skateboard, at current cell volumetric energy densities, simply can't scale to higher than 75kWh. Doesn't matter what the gravimetric energy density is - if you want more, you need to improve the volumetric energy density.

    • Not surprising that there's ~200k car fires in the US alone every year

      I think it's past time we call a carbecue a carbecue. ;)

    • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @09:25PM (#55192659) Homepage Journal

      Obviously both Wh/kg and$/kWh are important. Until the Wh/kg and Wh/m^3 figures for a new tech get good enough to make it physically practical, $/kWh is irrelevant; but beyond that with most new tech there's usually an adoption curve.

      After you've done all the lab based tinkering you can to make new tech affordable, there comes a time when the only way to make it cheaper is to make it in quantity. But unless you are lucky (or persuasive) enough to be swimming in unlimited investor dollars, chances are you don't have the money to set up an operation on that scale.

      That's why you target niche applications and early tech adopters. Elon Musk was smart about this: he didn't set out to build the electric equivalent of the Model T; he started out with an exotic roadster and then a near-as-exotic high end luxury sedan.

      But then Henry Ford didn't start out with the Model T either; his first car was the Model A. The original 1903 Model A cost $800, at the time when the median US income was $543. He sold about 10,000 of them. The Model T was introduced in 1908 for $825, but five years later he managed to drop that price down to $440; sales increased twentyfold. By 1925 he'd managed to drop the price to $260 (the equivalent of less than $3700 in 2017 dollars) at a time median income had risen to $750. Not surprising he sold nearly two million of the things that year.

      That's the power of the adoption curve. Early adopters bootstrap economies of scale you need to make something cheap enough for everyone.

      • See, cars should be cheaper, like under 4 grand.
        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          And easily modifiable to the user's needs too. That was possibly the coolest thing about the Model T, which is why the basic design lasted for twenty years, well after it had become hopelessly archaic. It was easy to hack. For the modern equivalent of three grand you got a basic, functional vehicle that could be turned into a cargo van, farm truck, or ski slope rope tow by anyone who could wield a hacksaw.

  • Than my hyundai. 80 more miles (per full tank(

    Of course the real concern I'd have is what charging stations are available outside of my garage. you know, in case I want to drive more than 430 miles... As far as I know all brands of gasoline work in my car, and I don't have to use a GPS and the Internet to find a compatible gas station.

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Teslas can charge on almost anything. They can charge on superchargers, CHAdeMOs, J1772s, RV sockets, dryer outlets, range outlets, wall sockets, etc. The only thing they can't charge off of are CCS Combos - but those are generally paired with CHAdeMOs.

      The nav system in Teslas knows where all of the superchargers are. It'd be nice if it also knew where other chargers are, but they're generally not needed.

      • The irony being that CCS combo has pretty much won the charging battle at this point. Only Tesla and Nissan use something else, meanwhile BMW, VW, Audi, Chevrolet, Mercedes, and Ford all use CCS combo for DC charging.

        • by sfcat ( 872532 )

          The irony being that CCS combo has pretty much won the charging battle at this point. Only Tesla and Nissan use something else, meanwhile BMW, VW, Audi, Chevrolet, Mercedes, and Ford all use CCS combo for DC charging.

          My Volt (Chevy) uses J1772. The CCS combo chargers are mostly used in what I call the "barely legal" EVs. Basically hybrids with bigger battery packs so they can be called EVs and sold in California to cover a legal requirement which means they don't have to give $$ to Telsa to sell cars in California. I don't tend to see them in the more popular EVs that are designed for actual use/impact (Volts and EVs with 300+ mi range).

          • by Rei ( 128717 )

            The future looks likely to be a CCS variant, however. That said, Tesla is a member of CharIN, so will probably be adopting the next standard.

            I'm so glad that Tesla is in CharIN, by the way. Why is it that the only company who seems to know how to engineer a proper connector is Tesla? Always sleek, easy, minimal form factors with extreme power - never giant, awkward, limited-power frankenconnectors like others seem to design.

          • My Volt (Chevy) uses J1772.

            Yes - that's because everyone other than Tesla uses J1772 for AC charging. CCS combo is J1772 + some extra pins to enable DC charging too. The only Chevy that currently supports DC charging is the Bolt - which uses CCS combo.

            As I said above - every EV maker other than Tesla and Nissan that supports DC charging uses CCS combo.

            • by Rei ( 128717 )

              Yes, everyone except Tesla (top EV seller in the US) and Nissan (top EV seller globally).
              And, of course, Honda (Fit EV).
              And let's not forget Citroën (C-Zero, Berlingo)
              Kia too, of course (Soul EV).
              Then there's Mazda (Demio EV).
              And Mitsubishi (MiEV, Outlander PHEV - the latter being the top selling PHEV in Europe)
              Peugeots use it too (iOn, Partner - although they're just rebadges)
              Subaru? You betcha (Stella)
              Toyota? Sure (eQ, new RAV4)

              But you know, apart from all of them, nobody uses CHAdeMO.

    • Since Tesla opened up their patents for charging, I would hope all the car makers are using their ports and wiring.
  • ..reach around the same vertical range letting ISS crew see your burnt corpse when it explodes.

  • Samsung will add a 'feature' to the battery pack control electronics that spies on the car's occupants and reports back to headquartes in Seoul.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @09:43PM (#55192751)

    Electric Pinto -- enough said.

  • Now shave a zero off that price tag and you might just have something there!

    Ferret
  • Since Samsung batteries explode, 430 miles is the maximum height the car can reach after the explosion. This is enough to enter a LEO [wikipedia.org] trajectory, but I wait for the geostationary model, thank you.
  • Earlier this year, Samsung unveiled its own '2170' battery cell to compete with Tesla/Panasonic.

    Until they start selling 2170 cells to the general public, we'll have to keep using 18650 cells in our projects.

  • If it is a battery from Samsung, I am not looking at range, I am not looking at charge times, I am not even looking at cost or life of the battery

    The key metric is mean time between spontaneous combustion.

  • Awesome! Now they can create a car that never needs charging ever! Just install about 10,000 of those bad boys and you get about 300,000 km per change! Seeing as the car probably won't last much longer than that anyway, you can just use your car, never charge it, and then just toss it away! Perfect!

  • Can I go with fewer packs for my everyday driving, but if I'm going on a road trip "rent" a few extra packs for the added range?
    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Sure, if you like installing objects that weigh hundreds of kilograms each.

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