Michigan-based energy storage technology startup Our Next Energy (ONE) has announced range and mass breakthroughs with its Aries II lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack.

The company claims that its battery has closed the gap in range and mass to within six percent of the leading benchmark nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) pack typically used in electric passenger vehicles.

Achieving near energy density parity with NCM is a significant milestone for an LFP battery. Currently, most EVs sold in the US use NCM batteries due to the higher energy density at a cell level compared to LFP. As a result, NCM is preferred by automakers in long-range electric vehicles.

But ONE's Aries II battery may change that as it has key advantages. It costs 25 percent less than a comparable NCM battery since it doesn't need nickel and cobalt; it also reduces the risk of thermal runaway by avoiding self-oxidation when a cell is crushed or shorted.

"LFP batteries have many advantages over NCM batteries, including cost and durability, while using safer and more abundant materials. The key shortfall has been range and energy density. By engineering a battery pack with similar energy density to NCM, ONE has made LFP a sustainable alternative," said Mujeeb Ijaz, CEO and founder of ONE.

Gallery: ONE Aries II LFP battery pack

Since the company was founded in July 2020, ONE has dedicated its efforts to closing the energy density gap with NCM. The company has not only closed the gap but achieved a 20-30 percent energy density increase over typical LFP battery systems. With an energy density of 263 Wh/L and 162 Wh/kg, Aries II has achieved 34 percent and 23 percent improvements over the leading LFP pack benchmark. 

"When the team took on the challenge of achieving energy parity with NCM batteries, we looked at everything from improving cell chemistry to redesigning the inside of the pack," said Chris Hughes, chief battery engineer at ONE. "Ultimately, it was the durability and safety of LFP that led to our novel pack and cell design that boosted Aries II’s energy density."

ONE's engineering team also made progress in reducing the weight of the overall pack design. By using more abundant and lower-cost raw materials in the cell, ONE was able to use more advanced materials at the pack level, reducing overall weight. The combination of increased energy density and lightweighting allows the Aries II battery to provide more than 350 miles of range to a typical passenger electric vehicle.

It's also worth noting that an LFP battery has a more abundant supply chain seeing as the earth's crust is composed of five percent iron, whereas nickel and cobalt make up less than 0.1 percent.

ONE expects its Aries II batteries to be fully compliant with Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) requirements when production begins in late 2024 at ONE Circle in Van Buren Township, Michigan.

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