Hanyang University And BMW Develops 350 Wh/kg Lithium-Ion Cells


The 2017 i3's 33.4 kWh battery pack is the same physical size as the current 21.6 kWh pack. BMW purposely designed the battery tray this way, so that future battery upgrades would be possible. Allowing the i3's battery to be upgraded was always BMW's plan.

300 miles range? Not yet.

A research team from the Hanyang University BMW Group has developed high energy dense lithium-ion battery cells, with a capacity of 350 Wh/kg.

The new “fully operational, practical” cells use carbon-nanotube-Si composite anode and NCM concentration gradient cathode.

According to the article, the cell also has excellent capacity retention after 500 cycles at 1 C rate (about 80% capacity left), which should make it usable in EVs, given the high density (which would theoretically translate into longer range applications)

We are not sure when we could actually see a 300 mile range BMW i3, but it’s good to know that there is an idea to achieve such a range.

“A fully operational practical Li-rechargeable battery system delivering unprecedented high energy density with excellent cycle life was proposed using the state-of-the-art cathode and anode technologies.

Based on the simple ball-milling process, a carbon nanotube (CNT)-Si composite anode with extremely stable long-term cycling, while providing a discharge capacity of 2364 mAh g-1 at a tap density of 1.1 g cm-3, was developed.

For cathode, a two-sloped full concentration gradient (TSFCG) Li[Ni0.85Co0.05Mn0.10]O2 cathode, designed to obtain maximum possible discharge capacity by having Ni-enrich core and to simultaneously ensure high chemical and thermal stability by having outer Mn-enriched layer, yielded a discharge capacity of 221 mAh g-1. Integrating the CNT-Si composite and the TSFCG cathode in a full cell configuration, the full cell generated an energy density of 350 Wh kg-1 with excellent capacity retention for 500 cycles at 1 C rate, satisfying the energy density limit imposed by the drive range requirement for EVs. The proposed battery system satisfied the demands for energy storage for vehicle applications in terms of energy density, power and cycle life.”

source: High-energy-density lithium-ion battery using carbon-nanotube-Si composite anode and compositionally graded Li[Ni0.85Co0.05Mn0.10]O2 cathode via Green Car Congress

Category: Battery TechBMW

50 responses to "Hanyang University And BMW Develops 350 Wh/kg Lithium-Ion Cells"
  1. Anthony says:

    Its good they made some light cells, but are they dense? Can they fit 50+ kWh into a i3-sized chassis to enable 200+ miles of EV range?

    500 cycles is good enough for EVs only if the vehicle has a 200+ mile range (100,000 miles). If the vehicle has 125 or less, then you’re looking at only about 60,000 miles before the 125 mile range becomes 100 miles.

    1. viktor says:

      It’s not that simple and the battery will hold much longer. When you do test like that you charge it to full, let it be full for some time and then take out all energy so its empty. If there is something that’s really bad for battery then it´s then the battery is full or empty for long time. This is the reason why Tesla recommend you to charge to max 90% and why you can’t use all power, the car will stop even if it’s have some kWh left.

      1. scott franco (No M3 FAUX GRILL!) says:

        Virtually all batteries have this property.

        1. Terawatt says:

          Virtually completely false!

    2. Andrew says:

      You also have to think that it’s per cell that has the cycle limit. So if you have a pack made up of a lot of cells you could potentially have a smart discharge algorithm that spreads the usage over the cells. So unless you’re using the whole cycle each drive, you may (probably) can get many many more “cycles” then 500 out of the whole pack. (Driving 25 miles only discharges certain cells, recharged, drive 50 miles the next day using a different set of cells, etc)

  2. Tom Moloughney says:

    I wonder how many stories like this have I read in the past five years. This is always good to read about, but rarely if ever do we then ever hear about the “breakthrough battery” again. Remember when a converted Audi A2 with DBM’s KOLIBRI batteries drove 375 miles on a single charge back in 2010? Where are they now? Call me when I can buy a car with these new batteries in it.

    1. tftf says:

      DBM was likely a fraud to get investor money, at least they never re-created the battery and the test(s) after their facility burned down.

      What a coincidence, hmmm. It burnt down a few weeks after their hyped long-range demonstration and worldwide attention….

      1. tftf says:

        By the way, DBM launched investigations against the former CEO for fraud and defrauding the company of EUR 2-5 million since 2012:


        (Article from 2015 in German)

  3. Forever Green says:

    +1 Tom

  4. Boris says:

    Every time we read a battery story, there is always a catch, because if there wasn’t, the company that developed the new/better cell would already be talking $$$ with Tesla or Nissan. They wouldn’t bother about PR articles.

    Currently Panasonic makes 3,400 mAh 18650 cells and there is nothing better on the market, I suspect that if they come out with something better, Tesla will have exclusivity and they won’t share the details with the world. Same as now, all Tesla ever said is that they have the best cells, but they never went into details.

    1. Pedro says:

      Since last year Panasonic/Sanyo, LG Chem and Samsung SDI are selling 3.500 mAh 18650 cells. Panasonic has no longer the monopoly of high density cells in the market.

      Old 3.400 mAh Panasonic cell:


      New 3.500 mAh:




      If you compare them you’ll find that Samsung SDI is currently the best cell maker. Not every 3.500 mAh is created equal…

      You can buy these genuine cells easily in Chinese online store like Aliexpress or Gearbest.

      1. Pajda says:

        I have tested all of this “Holy trio” and can say that Samsung 35E have the lowest IR and also the highest initial capacity.

        But I have measured that Samsung 35E have almost 3times worse cycle life than Sanyo and LG competitors. From my tests is definitely the best overall choice LG MJ1. From my experiences Samsung producing excellent High Power cells, like INR18650 25R

        1. Terawatt says:

          Sample size? Other potential sources that might give a misleading result in your opinion?

          1. Pajda says:

            Yes this is a good point. I have tested two cells only first 0,5C-1C and the second 1C-1C and both give 3times worse results than LG or Sanyo under the same conditions.

            By the way in the past I have run the same test with Samsung ICR18650-32A (12Wh) with similar results. The cycle life was far worse than LG and Panasonic competitors.

        2. Pedro says:

          Thanks for the information. But did you notice the temperature those LG Chem cells reach? Almost the double of the others…

          From my experience Samsung SDI currently makes the best cells. Followed by Sanyo/Panasonic and only then LG Chem.

          1. Pajda says:

            Hmm… I ran 3C (10A) discharge test of all three competitors and their behavior was almost the same. All three cells were only a barely hot and the discharged capacity/energy differs less than 5%.

            1. Boris says:

              Pedro and Pajda,

              Thanks for the info, I didn’t catch the new 3,500 mAh cell being launched..:(

  5. georges says:

    Tom M said:
    “I wonder how many stories like this have I read in the past five years.”

    Forever Green said:
    “+1 Tom”

    Boris said:
    “Every time we read a battery story, there is always a catch,”

    Well you guys haven’t been paying attention. It’s all about Silicon in the Anodes. That is the direction we are going with the batteries. Tesla and Panasonic are now using 5% Silicon in the anodes.

    Nissan is looking into amorphous silicon monoxide in the the anodes and as we see in this article this is yet another method of getting silicon in the anodes.

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      The point we’re making is the stories always lead with how they’ve made some kind of breakthrough, and battery tech is now going to take a giant leap forward. However that doesn’t ever happen. Ins6tead we are seeing continuous, gradual improvements in energy density. This is still good, since every year or two there is a step forward, but never that huge leap forward that so many of these companies promise.

      1. Terawatt says:

        I think you are clears wrong. What has happened is NOT regular and frequent small improvements. It’s breakthroughs. None so great as to make further breakthroughs irrelevant, but still big, disruptive change.

        In 2010 you could get 75 miles of range for about $35,000. Today you can get 84 miles for the same money. And yet in four months or so you’ll get more than 200 miles for less than ten percent more.

        BMWs and VW increases of 50% – in the same volume! – aren’t merely slow steady stuff either.

        If this kind of tempo were to continue we’d get 1000-mile BEVs at $20k pretty soon!

        1. Tom Moloughney says:

          I disagree. The drop in cost is primarily due to intense competition and increased volume (economies of scale). Look at the specific energy figure, it’s absolutely increased, but nothing has been introduced that’s doubled or tripled (like these battery startup companies claim) the energy density of existing batteries. Yes, there’s been a LOT of progress, but there hasn’t been a giant leap forward at any one given time.

          1. kdawg says:

            What ever happened to Estor? 😀

            I like how Elon put it in that recent video. The energy density is not really a problem now. We have cars that can go over 300 miles and could build ones that go over 400 miles. The issue is cost and making cars w/batteries that are affordable. Yes, getting better energy density, and power density, and longevity will help EVs, but cost is the main driving factor at this time.

            1. Glad you asked. Anyone that’s wants to discuss or learn about what EEStor is up to please join the new cadre clubhouse on Slack.

              Use this link to get started: https://eestor-slack.herokuapp.com/

              142 members and growing.

  6. leafowner says:

    Don’t trust anything coming out of a Chinese university….sorry

    1. AlphaEdge says:

      Chinese??? Oh dear. That thing about assumptions.

      1. Terawatt says:

        It makes an !!

    2. JyTesla3 says:

      Hanyang University is a private research university in South Korea.

      1. JyTesla3 says:

        Per wiki

  7. georges says:

    I thought IEVs already published this story.

    oh well its good to see it again and it points in the direction we are going in battery tech: improved anodes using silicon in some way shape or form.

    we also have the recent story about nissan looking at amorphous silicon monoxide as a way to get more silicon in the anode.

    we know telsa/panasonic is now using 5% silicon in the anodes of the 90 kwh packs. I have not seen anywhere a description of what methos they use to get the silicon concentration up.

    anyone know how panasonic is doing their silicon anodes?

    1. Terawatt says:

      5%??? Of what?

      That is, the amount of silicon is five percent of … the mass of the anode? X? Y? Y not?

      1. georges says:

        You guys are clueless:

        17 Jul 2015: Conference call
        youtube time= 8:39
        Elon Musk: “We are shifting the cell chemistry for the upgraded pack cell to partially use silicone in the anode. This is just sort of a baby step in the direction of using silicone in the anode. Still primarily synthetic graphite but over time we will be using increasing amounts of silicone in the anode. The physical size of the pack from the outside will look exactly the same.”
        17 Jul 2015: Blog Post
        Elon Musk: “On average, we expect to increase pack capacity by roughly 5% per year.”

        Like I said. It is all about Silicone in the Anode.

        I asked the question:

        Does anyone know what technique Panasonic is using????

        As far as I can tell the 90 kwh pack are 5% Silicone. Look at the dates on the pronouncements. Elon says that Panasonic needs 2 years in the lab to test the Chemistry.

        1. Ambulator says:

          Silicon, not silicone.

  8. Loboc says:

    This is a laboratory cell. Probably not even a full-size prototype but a coin-type cell. We are AT LEAST 5 years away from this going production in an EV application.

    Let’s see some Makita tools first.

    1. Terawatt says:

      Forget Si. Gold nanotubes! Tested for 200,000 cycles with ZERO loss of capacity and not a single nanotube broken. Literally the GOLD STANDARD. ?

      And since it’s basically impervious to degradation it can be hyper fast charged. And it has higher specific energy than LiIon and MUCH higher power density!

      Seriously, no idea if these are feasible. But there’s certainly a LOT going on, and it’s not just silicon.

      Germanium nanotubes also show some cool promise. It’s 400 times as fast to intercalate ions compared to graphene, and has been demoed with great retention after 1,100 cycles at 100C – which is ca 50 times faster than LiIon today!

      Carbon nanoballs, solid state, even flow batteries all potentially could become the technology of choice after some accidental or intended breakthrough. Or something totally different.

      What’s certain is that today’s batteries are very far from theoretical optimism. An electric motor for instance can be improved with respect to power-to-weight, size, cost – but it is already very good at all of these things and near 100% efficient!

      I’m sure batteries will get way better, as in revolutionized, not evolved. When is impossible to say; it could be soon or it could take decades.

      1. Terawatt says:

        Far from theoretical OPTIMUMS. Autocorrect me if I’m wrong. (Damn you, Jobs!)

        And IEVs needs to add an “edit” feature, lifting its commenting solution nearer 1990s standards ?

        1. Jay Cole says:

          …just make less mistakes, (=

          1. Ambulator says:

            Fewer would be more apt, but now it’s too late to change it. (For anyone else, that is.)

            1. kdawg says:

              You guys need to learn to post like me. I never make misteaks.

      2. Priusmaniac says:

        A 100 KWh battery able of charging at 100C would be charged in 36 second with a 10 MW charger. That would be really cool. No need for battery exchange anymore to beat the equivalent 4 MW filling rate of a gasoline station hose. Gas cars would be terminated.

        1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

          Your bank account will be terminated first when Big Electric will charge you peak power usage charge for 10 MW peak 😉 Technically possible doesn’t mean it makes sense economically. For the same reason you don’t run straight electric heaters up North even if they are simple, reliable and more efficient than natural gas furnace. It is just too expensive.

          The same with this breakthrough. Nanotubes are not news, but can it be reproduced on production line at acceptable cost?

          1. Priusmaniac says:

            High power is not that expensive and it can also be buffered in local storage. For what burning fossil fracking gas is concerned, no thanks, I’d rather add extra insulation, use a heat pump and if necessary use electricity directly on the very rare extremes that the heat pump would be overloaded; which is quiet unlikely if you choose a ground source heat pump. The ground remains at 10ºC all year round bellow 5 m.

            1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

              High power is $42/kW per month around Sand Diego. It may be $15-$25 elsewhere in the US, not everywhere intermittent solar/wind penetration is as high as in San Diego. Very few location may even don’t have this fee yet. The trend is definitely UP. $42/kW means $5 millions each year just to have option to use these 10 MW of power. OK, if you are so high power user, you may get your own connection to high voltage transmission line and your peak power fees may be somewhat lower. But it will still be a fortune. Per MWh fees are extra.

              Buffering 10 MW? ;)) Yes it is possible. Some 400 Powerpacks can do it. List price would be around 20 million US dollars, plus installation :/

              And yes, heat pumps work fine in not very cold climates but they are not electric heaters. They just move energy from outside to inside or back. Converting electricity to thermal energy is a big waste if you do it at bigger scale. You should know very well that at the other end of your electric connection are mostly fossil fuel burning plants, they convert thermal energy to electricity for your convenient use and this conversion and grid balancing is wasteful.

    2. Priusmaniac says:

      “Let’s see some Makita tools first.”

      That’s a combination of skepticism with a notch of disdain.

      With BMW behind, I think it is somewhat more likely than that but that doesn’t mean they are going to put it in a car. They tend to not really push the limits and sleep on unused possibilities like the i5 that’s been waiting for years now. BMW only act upon necessity unlike Tesla that act as fast as they can. So they will only move when Model 3 really bites in their 3 series like what the Model S is already doing in the 7 series but whose smaller product share still allow them to watch on the sideway.

  9. Ambulator says:

    The cell sounds good, but I’m afraid it’s going to be too expensive for quite a while. Carbon nanotubes, and I suspect gradient cathodes, are not cheap.

    1. Terawatt says:

      I want my cells to be quiet. If they sound good, they are probably not for me.

    2. Terawatt says:

      Actually, carbon nanotubes are dirt cheap. Or was that germanium? I forget.

  10. ChrisTech says:

    Talking about battery startups and their annual “breakthroughs” is one thing. But placing BMW/Samsung/Nissan/Tesla/Panasonic with that same crowd is just plain wrong.

    I’ll give you just one example. Look at Samsung SDI’s roadmap and tell me its all baloney.

    You can’t because its all been accurate.
    Just because start-ups have disappointed so often, does not mean serious and experienced researchers should be tarred with the same brush.

    1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

      I don’t think BMW brand means anything here. The same as others, they just fund some research lab in an university and researchers work on their own. It is not BMW factory nor BMW executives have expertise in fundamental research, nor it is possible to know if it will result in something suitable for production in advance.

  11. Filip Bjurling says:

    300 is more than enough. With 300 a 200kg battery will have 60kWh capacity. Work on price now!

    1. Priusmaniac says:

      300 of what? If it is km that is just half of what I would like in my car. If it is miles, we are almost there. Make it 400 miles and that’s a charm.