Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

At the 2016 NAIAS, Samsung SDI is presenting one of the most beautiful lithium-ion battery cells - but not for the first time really.

There are 26, 28, 37 and 94 Ah cells on the show table, plus two new ones with undisclosed capacity, but according to the Korean manufacturer those are even more energy dense.  (Buy a million of them...they might tell you)

Samsung SDI states that latest prototypes could enable electric cars to drive up to 370 miles (600 km) on a single charge, compared to current generation cells (good for about 500 km/310 miles). That's 20% more energy  according to our math. Samsung SDI says 20-30%.

Besides BMW and Fiat, Samsung SDI has also secured a deal with Audi to provide batteries for their long-range SUV (rated at 500 km on an unknown test cycle - although we assume it to be NEDC) so for sure Samsung is raising the bar.

Cells for 500 km range cars are delivered in samples currently, and production probably won't begin for anytime soon (2017-ish, we guess as the first production based EVs using the tech arrive in 2017). The new cells for 600 km are to be produced starting around 2020.

"Samsung SDI began to make its foray into the North American automobile market by introducing a variety of customized battery products at the 2016 North American International Auto Show opened on January 11, 2016, at Cobo Center in Detroit, the United States. New battery products include the prototype of high energy density battery cell for EVs that enables them to drive for up to 600 kilometers by charging once, ‘low height pack’ and ‘low voltage system (LVS)’ for EVs.

The prototype of new high energy density battery cell for EVs is the world’s top EV battery cell that improved energy density and driving distance by 20~30% compared to cells that enable EVs to drive for 500 kilometers, which are currently being provided in samples. The commercial production of this high energy density battery cell is expected to start in 2020."

The other new products are low voltage systems (LVS), which could be replacements for lead-acid batteries.

Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

At the booth we see a bunch of various kinds of battery packs for all-electric and plug-in hybrids. Samsung SDI says those are low height packs:

"Samsung SDI also unveiled ‘low height packs’ for EVs that significantly reduced the battery size and ‘LVS solutions’ that enable regular vehicles to improve eco-friendliness and fuel efficiency simultaneously.

Being a compact battery whose height is 20~30% lower than existing packs for EVs, the ‘low height pack for EVs’ is reduced in size while enhancing energy density. The reduction in height and improvement in energy density will allow EV designers to install packs more easily and to make commercial production while reducing costs, expediting establishment of platform for EV systems.

And the new ‘LVS solution’ can be installed in regular vehicles as well as EVs. As a low voltage system that can replace a lead-acid battery with a lithium-ion battery or add to it in regular vehicles, the ‘LVS solution’ features economic value by delivering excellent eco-friendliness and fuel efficiency.

While the issue of environment pollution by vehicle emissions is being raised, the ‘LVS solution’ attracts attention as a means of addressing environmental regulations to control carbon dioxide as it can improve fuel efficiency by 3~20%. Thus the ‘LVS solution’ is increasingly drawing keen interest and demand from consumers and automakers particularly in North America.

Samsung SDI aims to further sharpen competitive edge by capitalizing on its plant in Xian, China, which was built last year, and synergy with SDIBS based on its industry-top cell and module technologies. To that end, the company plans to aggressively cope with diverse specifications and needs of global automakers by setting up a full lineup of products, including high voltage systems such as high energy density battery cells and compact battery packs, and LVS packs."

President Nam Seong Cho of Samsung SDI said:

“We aim to lead the era of popularizing EVs by introducing a variety of solutions and products desired by customers and the market at this auto show. Particularly, we will accelerate to make foray into the global automobile market including North America by providing the new high energy density battery cell based on the world’s top technology leadership as well as the low height packs and LVS solutions.”

Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Samsung SDI lithium-ion batteries at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit