Hyundai Motors Improves Lithium Sulfur Battery Technology

APR 16 2014 BY MARK KANE 11

Hyundai Tuscon Fuel Cell

Hyundai Tuscon Fuel Cell

Hyundai Motor presented at the SAE 2104 World Congress in Detroit a paper title “Improved Cyclic Performances of Li-Sulfur Batteries with Sulfone-Based Electrolyte” on Li-sulfur battery, or maybe rather a new sulfone-based electrolyte for Li-sulfur battery, which Hyundai says improves the capacity and reversible capacity retention.

Hyundai Motor’s solution increases capacity by 52.1% to 715 mAh/g and capacity retention by 63.1% to 72.6%.

“The effects of electrolyte on the cyclability of Li/S battery were investigated in this work. The electrochemical properties of single component ether solvents and a binary mixture of ether solvents were studied. These ether-based electrolytes have polysulfide shuttle problems which result in severe low Coulombic efficiency. To overcome these issues, sulfone-based solvent which forms a stable passivation film at the anode surface were used.
As a result, the proper composition of sulfone-based electrolyte were obtained. Its capacity and reversible capacity retention were improved to 715 mAh/g and 72.6% which were increased by 52.1% and 63.1%, respectively, compared to those of ether-based electrolyte.”

This kind of development and results are announced on a regular basis all over the world and it’s hard to say how it will translate into a final product and whether or not commercialization of 2-3 time more energy dense battery cells will occur.

But the most important thing is that another automaker is using its laboratory and resources on battery technology. And this is not Nissan or Toyota, both of which have been working on batteries for years, but Hyundai who seems to be in no hurry to introduce electric vehicles (although related company Kia will try, but Hyundai announced a focus on fuel cells in the short term).

Is Hyundai hoping to skip a lithium-ion cells and instead jump to one of the next-generation battery technologies before joining the party?

Categories: Battery Tech

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11 Comments on "Hyundai Motors Improves Lithium Sulfur Battery Technology"

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Kia and Hyundai are sister companies, so it is no biggie that Kia is taking the lead in BEVs whilst Hyundai does so in FCEVs.
They are more like divisions of GM than separate companies.

I think it’s great that Tesla and Nissan are out there trying to make affordable EVs (I drive a LEAF). If I ran a car company, this is the level of energy density I’d be targeting. Assuming the price of batteries per pound will stay fairly constant, 400Wh/kg with good cycle life, is where you start taking big marketshare for ICEs. At 800Wh/kg, ICEs don’t make much sense at all.

Agree, I also drive a Leaf, number 669; The higher density resolves into peace of mind by knowing I can very from a planned route at will.


I’m not certain, but that 72.6% cycle retention might be after only 20 cycles. If so, they have a long way to go.

That’s how I understand that aswell. Also, I fail to realize the improvement over:
82% retention over 100 cycles (67% over 500) and initial capacity of 1225 mAh/g.

SAE 2104 World Congress – these guys are always ahead of our time 🙂

It’s probably the same research. Of the research institutions involved with the collaboration, one of them is located in Korea. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume Huyandai is funding them.

Don’t forget that a 200-cycles 600 Wh/kg battery means 200 times 1,000 km range (with “typical” 250 kg battery and “typical” 150 Wh/km consumption), which means 200,000 km in total life, so there’s no actually need for 1000+ cycles LiS batteries.

Additionally, even if long-life is achievable only at low rates, again the high density allows an high power battery (600 Wh/kg * 250 kg = 150 kW), which even discharged at 30 kW (maximum needed power to travel at 130 kmh speed) means just 0.2C .

Finally, being a “cycle life” defined as “overall 100% capacity recharging” rather than “each time you connect battery to charger”, and being typical travels not longer than 50 km, to perform a “lifecycle” they will be needed 20 “average travels”, so 20×200=4000 days > 10 years.

Check also “CTAB-modified S−GO nanocomposite cathodes” (S-GO = Sulphur-Graphene Oxide ) with 1500 cycles at low rate:

Hyundai was never going to put all its eggs in the hydrogen basket. That would be very unwise.

I so want this for my Fusion Energi… Is anyone even talking about aftermarket batteries for Volts and Leafs?

How about this – a Mini-Van PHEV with 60 Miles / 100 Km of pure BEV Range – either at the start (Charge Depletion Mode) – or – after a run as a hybrid first (Charge Sustaining Mode)? Would that cover the need from Soccer Moms?

And – if you have a High Energy – Low Cycle Life System – why not make the ‘Normal Charge’ at something like 40% of Battery Capacity; a ‘Extended Charge’ at 75% of Battery Capacity; and the full ‘Range Charge’ at 100% of Battery Capacity to make most trips of a shorter discharge cycle level, and fewer trips of a higher or maximum discharge level?

So – if your LEAF now came with a pack in the same space and weight – but had a capacity of say – 60 kWh: You could get the current 24 kWh usage with a 40% Charge, and 45 kWh with a 75% Charger, etc, leading to the full Range Charge giving the full 60 kWh, for travels sometimes needed, like 200 miles or so!

Just a Thought – I did not do a lot of thinking and math analysis on this one!