GS Yuasa Promises Range-Doubling EV Battery By 2020

2 months ago by Mark Kane 31

Lithium Energy Japan – LEV50 (50 Ah, 3.7 V)

Range-doubling battery technology!

That’s the promise that’s been coming from GS Yuasa for several years. The thinking being that higher-energy dense lithium-ion batteries will lead to high increases in range.

A recent Nikkei article again warms up to those promises.

GS Yuasa

The goal for the Japanese battery manufacturer is the apparent doubling of battery capacity (and therefore electric car range while displacing the same area and weight). Mass production of these “breakthrough” cells are set for as early as 2020…so apparently it isn’t a thought-bubble, or lab experiment of a new, unproven technology.

GS Yuasa through joint venture Lithium Energy Japan supplies batteries for Mitsubishi i-MiEV (16 kWh) and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (12 kWh).

The problem is that there are no firm numbers in the article. Doubling the first generation cells in say a plug-in Mitsubishi would only match the top players today, not pass them.

“Lithium Energy Japan, a joint venture with trading house Mitsubishi Corp. and carmaker Mitsubishi Motors, will develop the cells, which will be produced at its plant in Shiga Prefecture and supplied to automakers in Japan and Europe.”

The story is interesting in the context of the recent news with Nissan’s battery unit – which it recently sold (AESC and other manufacturing facilities around the world). Mitsubishi is now controlled by Nissan, so in a way, the company is now part of this joint venture with Lithium Energy Japan and GS Yuasa (similar to AESC with NEC, but on a much smaller scale).  What we can draw from this in regards to Nissan’s future isn’t clear, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Shares of GS Yuasa traded up 10% on Tuesday on the news.

Source: Nikkei

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32 responses to "GS Yuasa Promises Range-Doubling EV Battery By 2020"

  1. trackdaze says:

    The JV is between bosch, yuasa and mitsubishi. It also acquired a solid state start up in 2015.

  2. ThombDeBhomb says:

    “Shares of GS Yuasa traded up 10% on Tuesday on the news.”

    News? I guess it is news that somebody stated a desire.

  3. Loboc says:

    All lithium batteries will be double their current density by 2020. What is the story here again?

    1. John M says:

      No they won’t.
      And Yuasa won’t either.

      1. Q says:

        Well, Samsung SDI did with their cell that goes into i3.
        First gen was 60Ah, now it is 96Ah and in the pipeline (production ready) is 120Ah.
        Same enclosure, bit higher weight.

  4. Terawatt says:

    Well, as pointed out in the article, it’s not possible to say what this means. Numbers, not adjectives, would have been given if they were as good as the adjectives are meant to suggest.

    1. Dav8or says:

      How about they just not make the lead acid batteries in my Jet Skis not suck so much! Let’s start with that.

  5. speculawyer says:

    If someone actually delivers on one of these boasts it is going to make me feel like we’ve been stupid & lazy. Why didn’t we work on this stuff 40 years ago.

    1. Tom says:

      1. Necessity is the mother of invention.
      2. The necessary material science and manufacturing techniques had not been invented. People could probably imagine such things but were unable to even test them. Graphene is a good example of a material that was probably not even a twinkle in the scientist’s eye 40 years ago. Our life is full of stuff that was merely science fiction 40 years ago. 40 years ago, GM was building vehicles that burned oil (or leaked it) straight out of the factory day 1.

      But surely there is reason to believe a little more vision and money on the part of the govt encouraging this research might have helped although certainly there has been govt money involved along the way.

      1. speculawyer says:

        “Necessity is the mother of invention”

        That’s where the problem lied…we had great ICE cars and cheap oil. So we just didn’t view batteries as a necessity. We failed to prioritize air pollution & climate change as problems that were NECESSARY to solve. When we finally did find it necessary to solve air pollution, we largely did it with simple patches that made ICE cleaner.

        But we continued to ignore climate change. In fact the fixes to air pollution (cleaner gas mixes & catalytic converters) made the climate change issue harder to address since it became “out of sight, out of mind”. CO2 is a completely invisible menace. And with denial & industry propaganda, we went on to ignore it for decades. We will do.

        Had we worked hard on batteries starting 40+ years ago, we would be in much better shape now. But we didn’t find it ‘necessary’.

        1. arne-nl says:

          Hear, hear!

    2. Someone out there says:

      We did work on it 40 years ago

    1. Trackdaze says:

      Definetely need an edit function.

      Solid state startup is part of jv with yuasa and mitsubishi.

  6. Ain'tBelieving says:

    “Show us the numbers and hurry…get Tesla, the largest battery maker, on the line. What?…you ain’t ready yet?”

  7. Another Euro point of view says:

    IMO this should just be considered as a Japanese practical joke to freak out the cultist. All get back to sleep.

    1. john doe says:

      At the university we got test samples of SS batteries from GS Yuasa in 2014.
      Just as flat packed test cells, but with great density and safety.
      The professor was hyped up, and told us these cells could be shaped to follow the curves of the chassis and almost be used as a sound insulator (like Dynamat), and would not require a normal battery compartment like a regular EV.
      The main problem back then was with economical production, and get the process industrialized and automatic, and keep the quality consistent and the price at a normal level.
      If they have a commercial product in 2020, that they can deliver in volume – we’re in for a treat.
      Not only cars, but power tools, computers and electronics in general.
      Short distance electric airplanes is also worked on.
      Battery Technology takes years to develop.

      I’m sure they have showed Nissan a prototype that has kind of shocked them, and is the reason they sold their battery business.
      With safe SS batteries, they can be shipped in containers really cheap – and the location of the factory is not that important.

      1. Tom says:

        Here’s hoping you’re right and not full of fairy dust.

        1. john doe says:

          Yeah, or Nissan has made a very bad choise regarding their battery business.
          As for SS batteries, we got battery samples from several sources, including a US university. They are coming all right, just have to see who’s first. Japan/Korea/China?

      2. Jason says:

        And that really doesn’t make any sense. Nissan essentially owned their battery division, so if Mitsubishi also have a battery division, then you just merge the two and have a better battery division. It does seem like a weird move to sell off the battery business when batteries are the single biggest and expensive part of the EV build, and they are only going to need more batteries. If you have three factories you can repurpose then to build the different type of batteries. Each battery manufacturer is going to protect their IP very strongly, but if you merge the two businesses, now they can collaborate on their respective IP and more than likely show significant improvement.
        Placing your battery requirements onto the open market just feels like the wrong move, especially when they had already done all that investment. Oh, well, it’s their business so hope it works out for them.

  8. Mik says:

    They haven’t mentioned the price for KWH

  9. Roy_H says:

    My main problem with general claims like this are double what? In our mind we tend to think of double the world’s record, but this is almost never the case. Usually they talk about doubling their current offering.

    From: http://www.gsyuasa-lp.com/SpecSheets/GS_Yuasa_LIM25_Battery_Spec_Sheet.pdf
    GS Yuasa battery LIM25H-12 has a capacity of 40wHr/kg and 63wHr/litre.

    Trying to find data on Tesla battery pack is difficult. According to Wikipedia
    85kwHr battery weighs 540kg = 155wHr/kg. and given rough dimensions of 215cm x 180cm x 10cm = 385 litres or 220wHr/litre. So Tesla battery pack is 155/40 3.8 by mass or 220/63 – 3.5 times by volume more energy dense than GS current offering.

    If GS Yuasa doubles their performance then they will be only 40% less dense than Tesla/Panasonic.

    1. tftf says:

      Exactly, same problem with Tesla’s claims of “lowering costs by 30-40%”.

      Cell level? Pack level?

      And most importantly what comparison base (numbers)? 2013 battery specs and prices?

      1. tftf says:

        PS: My answer was regarding…

        “My main problem with general claims like this are double what?”

        1. tftf says:

          PS: “Doubling” has been their goal since 2014:

          http://www.gs-yuasa.com/en/newsrelease/article.php?ucode=gs151007161909_150

          So I guess they use 2013-2014 specs and prices as the “base”.

    2. arne-nl says:

      The GS Yuasa battery that you use as a reference is a battery optimised for high power, not energy density.

      Going here, we have an automotive cell:
      3.7 V * 50 Ah = 185 Wh / 1.7 kg = 109 Wh/kg.

      This is less than half the ~250 Wh/kg of the Panasonic cells that Tesla uses in the Model S. Model 3’s 2170 cells are rumored to have even higher energy density.

      So if GS Yuasa’s current automotive battery is the benchmark, then in 2020 they will almost match where Tesla is today. Hmmm, I somehow suspect that that is not worth a press release.

  10. Nix says:

    It is definitely a reliable top battery brand, not some startup looking for venture capital, so that’s a good sign. Hopefully they actually have something that pans out, and that the cost to manufacture is good too.

    I want to be optimistic because this isn’t some nobody hyping some super-capacitor that they have no history of ever building. But the devil is in the details. Doubling one performance metric means nothing if it cuts lifespan in half, or triples manufacturing cost, etc. In the long run the spec sheet and testing results will reveal all.

    1. SJC says:

      Yuasa made the batteries that caught fire on the jet airliner. Mastery of lithium is not in evidence.

  11. Dan says:

    These guys made the Li batteries used in the Boeing 787. Hopefully they have improved their quality control.

  12. Suthnsun says:

    The article referenced says 340km range for imiev =>10.5km/kwh at 32kwh ie. quite quantitative and believable.

  13. Pete S says:

    If Volkswagen were to implement this technology in their E-Golf they could be a player in the EV game quite quickly rather than a what is considered a compliance car company in most people’s eyes.

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