EVs Are Rapidly Evolving: Models, Battery Packs, Cells And Chemistry

MAR 6 2019 BY MARK KANE 24

Sales would not increase so fast without rapidly evolving products

According to Adamas Intelligence, sales of electrified passenger cars (hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric) increased in 2018 by 28.6% to 4.28 million, at 5.2% of total global volume.

The new report notes that the market of electrified cars not only expands fast, but at the same time evolves even faster, which can be seen on all levels from models, to battery packs, to battery cells and even cell chemistry itself.

In the case of models – the market is evolving towards scalable modular platforms – some dedicated to handle different powertrains, and some dedicated for BEVs. It will be rare to see a new conventional model converted to electric just to have some compliance EV.

Global average EV battery capacity steadily rising (Source: Adamas Intelligence)

Average battery pack capacity is quickly growing from around 1.4 kWh (initially mostly hybrids) in January 2010 to 24.8 kWh in December 2018.

“The average EV pack capacity (in kWh) is continually increasing. This increase is happening for a number of reasons; such as advances in cell chemistry, greater sales of BEVs relative to HEVs, and due to an urgency on the part of automakers to expand driving range (distance per charge) so as to differentiate their EV model(s) from those of incumbents.

Overall, the global sales-weighted average EV battery capacity has increased by a factor of 18x in nine years, from 1.4 kWh in January 2010 to 24.8 kWh in December 2018 (see recent insight from Adamas Intelligence).”

The battery cells (in three main form factors – prismatic, pouch and cylindrical) also are changing to higher capacity versions and bigger size.

“As of 2019, the three main form factors (prismatic, pouch and cylindrical) continue to be widely used but if-and-when some cell suppliers do broadly adopt high-nickel NCM 811 (or other high-nickel NCM or NCA cathodes), cylindrical and pouch form factors will become the logical choice to accommodate the thermal expansion associated with these chemistries.

Although form factors haven’t evolved much in recent years, the sales-weighted average cell volume and capacity continues to expand, as reflected by Tesla’s switch from 18650 to 21700 cylindrical cells, as well as CATL’s shift from 45Ah to 50Ah prismatic cells, and beyond.”

Adamas Intelligence said that the total deployment of batteries in electrified passenger cars (including hybrids) was in 2018 72.3 GWh (up 81% year-over-year from 40 GWh in 2017).

Nickel-rich cathodes are on the rise:

Lastly, at the cell chemistry level, the landscape is rapidly moving towards ‘higher’ nickel cathode varieties (i.e. NCM 523/622) but remains broadly cautious of adopting the ‘highest’ nickel varieties (i.e. NCM 811) due to cost, reliability and safety concerns.

In 2018, global deployment of NCM 523 (in GWh) for passenger EVs increased 129% year-over-year and deployment of NCM 622 increased 230% year-over-year while global deployment of NCM 811 among first movers decreased 46% year-over-year (see recent insight from Adamas Intelligence).

Source: Adamas Intelligence

Categories: Battery Tech

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24 Comments on "EVs Are Rapidly Evolving: Models, Battery Packs, Cells And Chemistry"

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This would be meaningful only if the data did not contain polluting hybrids and Phevs.

Every mile travelled on electricity is a mile travelled without burning gas/deisel.
Since electric miles are a very small percentage, beggars can’t be choosers.

Right, because generating electricity doesn’t pollute… /s
A local one for you: https://www.kcrg.com/content/news/Report-Iowa-one-of-39-states-with-contaminated-water-from-coal-fired-power-plants-506707631.html

I am a firm believe in BEVs and that they pollute less than an average ICE, but stop the broad attack on PHEVs and efficient hybrids, that will actually do a lot to reduce emissions. PHEVs mostly represent a large improvement in MPG vs a non PHEV car. Don’t throw the argument out that people won’t plug them in without statistics.

I think what should be done with PHEVs is set a minimum EV range (hopefully China with their 50 km NEDC range will naturally force world wide PHEVs to that), and have manufacturers report actual MPGe (which will be higher if plugged in). I say this as PHEVs are to meet emissions standards, they do so when plugged in, the manufacturer should only get credit if the cars are plugged in regularly. They don’t have to track it in detail, only aggregate and to confirm compliance.

Kenneth Bokor (EV Revolution Show)
Yes, PHEVs are not the perfect pill, but they are an important stop-gap between ICEV and BEV adoption. We simply don’t have enough choice, cost parity, infrastructure, etc, currently to really offer all consumers the opportunity to jump to full BEV from current ICEV. There are lots of reasons why, so PHEVs are a great alternative to EV adoption while making the transition very easy for ICEV owners to do. It’s my hope we won’t need PHEVs in less than 10 years as BEV technologies improve and many of the factors against all-electric adoption are remedied. I am not a support of Hybrids that don’t have any plug, since they still emit GHG’s and only offer improved MPG, which does not do anything to turn around Climate Change and lower our emissions. We need to get rid of tailpipes all together. What PHEVs at least provide is a limited use case where no emissions are being produced for a substantial period of time. Of course that is dependant on driving use, weather, etc. On average, they can work for most people and can help to affect change if used as much as possible in BEV mode.

Ugh. EV purists are the worst.

Don’t make the perfect be the enemy of the good. PHEVs are GREAT gateway drugs. And they are needed to make affordable electrification of big non-aerodynamic vehicles possible.

*Sigh* The EV “purist” attitude raises its ugly, intolerant head again.

A PHEV driven within its EV range is every bit as non-polluting as a BEV. So what’s with the anti-EV attitude? If you’re anti-PHEV, then you’re anti-EV.

The EV revolution needs all kinds of EVs… not just BEVs.

Well Saudi Aramco isn’t worried. They think evs will be less than 10% of the vehicle fleet in 2040:
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/saudi-aramco-says-electric-vehicles-143123220.html
To steal a line from the Bard: “What fools these (particular) mortals be.”

“We are still expecting 90 percent of vehicles to be driven by ICE by the mid-century.” Which means fleet replacements not fleet sales. Sales would need to be MUCH higher than 10% to reach 10% passenger vehicle penetration.

This 90% prediction is therefore not in conflict with 50% sales by 2030 that some futurists are still holding to. I happen to believe that we are on an exponential curve that Kurzweil and Seba are predicting. We will be near 100% passenger electric vehicle sales by mid-century. Even then, with the 200B total vehicles in service it will take decades to replace them all.

This is only 2019. 2040 and 2050 are a ways away and difficult to predict on an exponential rate. Remember, it only took 13 years for cars to replace horses in major cities. 13 years is 2032.

We just need two or three innovations in battery tech for EV’s to dominate. Just imagine having a 100 Kwh battery in your car that can charge 20%-90% in 10-20, minutes, that can go 400 miles and last 1,000,000 miles and that wont explode when you puncture it, that costs $2000. We are almost there, except for the cost and explosion part. May be that future is less than 10 years out. Adoption will happen sooner than anyone would think.

Yes, and we don’t even need big innovations. Just some gradual incremental innovations that push the price of batteries down to the $100/KWH at the pack level.

$100/KWH is right around the corner but I think $50/KWH is when things will change very quickly. If I can buy a 100 KWH battery for my house for $5000, i’d seriously think about cutting the electric service to my house. Cost is just a matter of economies of scale… that and solid state batteries, the future is electric.

Energy is expressed as “kWh” and we have to specify “cell” level or “pack” level. Actually, an economy EV can be built @ $90/kWh pack level and that really is 5-7 years away. Tesla may be at $100/kWh cell level now and two years from $100/kWh pack level. Everything changes in the next 7 years. Utilities will be able to build a solar array with 4-hour storage for one year’s operational cost of a fossil fuel plant getting the next 25 years for free. With that economics, no policies or politics can stop it. The economical solution is close enough that companies should be building to this now.

Kenneth Bokor (EV Revolution Show)

Oh man that would be sweet. Your cost is unrealistic but the other specs are very within the future realm. Cost parity is all we need and when combined with the other specs you mention, would make it a very hard argument not to get and EV over an ICEV. Hope we can see cost parity in 5-7 years.

Huh, we are very far from here.

Kenneth Bokor (EV Revolution Show)

The switch for consumer transportation from ICEV to BEV is a generational thing in my opinion. Global sales are over 78 Million units for cars/light trucks. About 2 million are current EVS. So a long way to go and there are many areas that won’t be able to look at EV adoption due to technology, economic and/or socio-economic reasons for a long, long time.

What we can focus on are areas that can support large-scale EV adoption, both from a consumer and commercial (fleet) market. About 50% of the worlds population live in urban areas, so concentration here makes great sense, as does increased public transit, ride sharing, etc.

For areas outside of most large urban areas where car infrastrucure is prevalent, moving to EVs is very possible once more choice, cost parity, charging infrastructures and stabilized longer ranges are more common.

Change is already happening but to think it will happen that dramatically like 50% by 2030 is not realistic. I really hope it does happen that fast as I’m all about getting rid of tailpipes.

That is wishful thinking. 10% by 2040 is not a big target. Tesla would have to crash & burn for that to happen.

“Well Saudi Aramco isn’t worried. They think evs will be less than 10% of the vehicle fleet in 2040:”

…..that is for public consumption. It isn’t necessarily what they believe. If that is what they actually believe then they probably wouldn’t be still trying to divest via an IPO. And they aren’t they only ones.

They really screwed that up. They should have IPOed years ago. I think it is on hold now and every year their prospects get worse. Who really wants to invest in a dictatorship owning a commodity that will be in decline. In decline either by a drop in demand due to EVs or in decline due to Saudi Arabia oil production peaking.

I think they’re absolutely right. In 2040, probably about 10-15% of vehicles will be BEVs. What they fail to grasp is that those 10-15% will probably do anything between 70 and 90% of the vehicle-km, seeing that today something between 80-20 and 90-10 applies…

This is the fact that ICE holdouts fundamentally don’t grasp. EVs are still early in their technological potential development curve.

EVs are already better in many, many ways, for many, many users. And, that event horizon is constantly expanding, inexorably engulfing more users, as EV technology advances. Plus, that advancement is coming in every dimension that matters to EVs – battery energy density, battery charging technology, battery cost, battery chemistry, electric motor power density, electricity generation sources, etc.. If each of those only improves by a few percent per year (an understatement), it spells doom for ICE vehicles and fossil fuels (thankfully!).

“Overall, the global sales-weighted average EV battery capacity has increased by a factor of 18x in nine years, from 1.4 kWh in January 2010 to 24.8 kWh in December 2018”
That statistic is unrealistic. Take one look at the graph and you notice a spike in December each year that then drops drastically the next month. Yeah, it’s 18x in Dec but in Jan it looks a whole lot more like 10x. Figures never lie, but…

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=38572
EIA is certainly uninformed they don’t think there’s going to be much increase in electric usage. There projections don’t even mention the demand from electric vehicles.
They don’t mention battery storage either which can keep production more inline with consumption.
I guess also the electricity not used for the production of fossil fuels will be used for electric vehicles.
So maybe electric usage will not increase that much after all?

EIA projections are so conservative they are no longer even trusted by some players in the industry.

Excellent article. Yes the battery size in a typical full hybrid car like Prius is 1.4 KWh while in a mild hybrid vehicle like Jeep Wrangler is 0.5 KWh. In 2010 with so many hybrid vehicle sales, the average was 1.4 KWh. Now with so many electric vehicles being sold, it increased to 24.8 KWh.

Still hybrids are relevant since they get 40 % extra mileage than similar sized gasser. Compare Ioniq hybrid with Sonata. Ioniq gets 50% extra mileage and is also bigger since its a hatch.

The way the electric vehicles are beating the plugin hybrids is really surprising. The day the electric vehicles beat the full hybrids will be very nice.