The 2021 InterBattery is the largest battery exhibition in South Korea and probably one of the largest globally with major manufacturers not only displaying their latest tech, but also EVs equipped with their batteries.

SK Innovation presents the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck, which is a suprising sight in South Korea. The F-150 is equipped with SK Innovation's NCM 9½½ cells.

"NCM9 is a battery that has the proportion of nickel up to approximately 90%. Nickel is a mineral that has the greatest influence on battery output and driving range. As NCM9 has high energy, it is difficult to manufacture without advanced technology that ensures safety. SK Innovation completed the production of this battery with its exclusively unrivaled safety technology and will supply it to Ford from next year."

SK Innovation at 2021 InterBattery in South Korea

Not only that, but there is also the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which gets SK Innovation's NCM811 cells. The same batteries are used also in the Kia EV6.

"SK Innovation’s NCM8 is a high-nickel battery that uses about 80% of nickel (Ni), the highest level in the industry at the moment. In particular, as the performance of the NCM8 battery increases, it is currently considered a type of EV battery that is hard to be mass produced due to safety issues. The driving range of IONIQ 5 is about 429 km, and it can be charged up to 80% in just 18 minutes with high-speed charging."

Samsung SDI's stage includes BMW plug-ins, while at LG Chem's LG Energy Solution booth we could see Porsche Taycan.

SK Innovation is present at the show with three main themes: "Safer than EVer, Faster than EVer, Longer than EVer".

Safer than EVer

The company is very happy with its safety record of zero fire accidents after supplying 270 million battery cells so far and highlights three key solutions:

  • The first key is in the separator manufactured by SK IE Technology, a subsidiary of SK Innovation. With its proprietary technology, SK IE Technology can manufacture a thin but sturdy separator with a thickness of 5 micrometers, one twenty-fifth of human hair thickness. A thin separator allows the ions that generate electricity to move actively, resulting in higher output and faster charging speed. However, if the separator is thin but made without sufficient technical skills, it can easily tear and cause fire.
  • The second key to SK Innovation’s safe batteries is its “Z folding” technology. It is the technology that wraps the anode and cathode in zigzags, thereby significantly reducing the possibility of two materials coming into contact and allowing precise manufacturing even in high-speed production systems.
  • Last but not least, SK Innovation’s battery pack technology has thermal propagation test. Thermal propagation test refers to a safety measure where heat does not spread to surrounding cells when a fire occurs in some cells in a battery pack, where dozens of battery cells are lined up. Fundamentally, SK Innovation’s self-designed E-pack can block heat, so it can prevent spreading fire.
    SK Innovation allowed visitors to watch the actual fire test video in the “Safer than EVer” zone. Through this, visitors can confirm that even if one cell is ignited inside the battery pack, it does not transfer to other cells inside the pack, and the flame is not exposed to outside environment for more than 5 minutes.

Faster than EVer

With multi-tab technology, it's possible to produce cells that fully charge within just 15 minutes:

"The key is the multi-tab technology, which increases the number of anode and cathode tabs to two, which had been only one each in the existing batteries. Electrons must move from the anode to the cathode for the battery to charge, so if the number of tabs is increased to two, the distance traveled by electrons is reduced by half. Hence, the shorter the travel time of electrons, the shorter the charging time a battery requires."

Longer than EVer

The last major element is a high energy density that translates into high range.

"In the “Longer than EVer” zone, SK Innovation introduces its unique post-generation cathode and anode material technologies that can extend the driving range of batteries as well as module technologies that can maximize the internal space efficiency of batteries."

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