Samsung SDI Shows Off Modular Batteries Good For 435 Miles Range At 2017 IAA

SEP 12 2017 BY MARK KANE 42

Samsung SDI often follows motor shows around the world, as they are a high profile venue to exhibit all kinds of battery cell and pack technology, while tempting manufacturers to give them a try.

Samsung SDI exhibits multifunctional battery packs, low height cells, cylindrical batteries based on new technology standard ‘21700’ at Frankfurt Motor Show

And today from the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Korean battery maker brought a few new products: multi-functional (modular)battery packs, using low height cells, and cylindrical batteries based on the new technology standard ‘21700’.

“The concept of the products Samsung SDI displayed at the show is “a battery company preparing for the popularization of EVs,” and high technologies were applied to them accordingly.”

With the addition of recently constructed EV battery plant in Hungary, Samsung SDI has completed its worldwide production trifecta, now alsso boasting plants in Ulsan, South Korea and Xian, China.

Samsung SDI said that a 20 module pack in a premium car could enable 600-700 km (370-435 miles) of range. In a more regular model, half of those would (obviously) enable 300 km (186 miles).

Naturally we assume that each module is good for ~30-35 km (19-22 miles), so an OEM can more easily spec pack design, and offer multiple range choices for consumers.

Multifunctional battery pack
“Multifunctional battery pack” of Samsung SDI attracted the most attention. Its users can change the number of modules as they want as if they place books on a shelf. For example, if 20 modules are installed in a premium car, it can go 600 to 700 kilometers. If 10 to 12 modules are mounted on a regular sedan, it can run up to 300 kilometers. This pack is expected to attract attention from automakers, because they can design a car whose mileage vary depending on how many modules of a single pack are installed.

The next product on the 2017 IAA feature table is the Low Height Cell, which are also pretty long – for applications where the floor needs to be lower.

“Another groundbreaking product Samsung SDI exhibited is “Low Height Cell.” This is a cell whose height has been reduced by more than 20 percent than that of other existing cells. If this cell is applied, it can decrease the battery load height in an EV. It raises interior space utilization, enabling automakers to develop EVs of various designs.”

And finally, there are 21700 cylindrical cells and modules. Samsung SDI supplies those 21700 cells to Tesla Powerpack in largest energy storage order ever (100 MW / 129 MWh).

“Samsung SDI also displayed cells and modules based on the new 21700 standard of cylindrical battery. A ‘21700’ battery is 21 millimeters in diameter and 70 millimeters in height. Its capacity is 50 percent bigger than the existing 18650 battery. Its size is optimal for maximizing capacity, life and output simultaneously. The new battery beats batteries of any other size in light of cost competitiveness. A 21700 battery draws attention from major global manufacturers as the next-generation standard which can be applied to all sorts of products including electric vehicles, ESS and electric tools.”

Samsung SDI President Jun Young-hyun said:

“Our products unveiled at the show are expected to advance the popularization of EVs because they use high technologies optimized to the needs of customers and the market. We will keep leading the battery industry with our unrivaled technology.”

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42 Comments on "Samsung SDI Shows Off Modular Batteries Good For 435 Miles Range At 2017 IAA"

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It looks like 2 pairs of modules placed under seats would give a PHEV 80 miles of range with no space issues. That would reduce most driver’s gas use and emissions tremendously NOICE!

If they’re built as standardized modules, then it ought to be easy to replace them. Or, you could have a flexible battery pack; keep, say 160 miles in range for around town, but then you could rent another 160 miles in range if you were going on a trip. You wouldn’t have to own as much expensive storage, or lug it around when it wasn’t needed.

Love that idea!

It’s been done before. There was a company that pitched range extending batteries on trailers. It never caught on, mostly because most EVs don’t have a hitch to tow it with!

Yes, it did not have a good implementation. If you can design evs to actually have space to add the modules maybe under the trunk floor where the spare tire is and make them easily removable. It would be complicated on many levels but an interesting idea.

The idea of modular batteries was offered on Green Car five years ago. No one ever did it but good ideas have a way of catching on.

And for all the “concern trolls” who are piggybacking on Toyotas’ statement that we need at least 2 big “breakthroughs” in batteries–this provides more proof that such delaying tactics is total BS!

The current/immediate battery tech is good enough and as Samsung/LG/Panasonic shows it just keeps getting better and eventually their will be next generation chemistry but to wait for it is madness and nothing more then a stalling technique.

IMHO, cost is really the main drawback and it is falling very rapidly.

Perhaps this is breakthrough one? It would seem however that cost is breakthrough one and charge speed is two. Or the way Elon Musk tends to speak of these things he uses ‘order of magnitude’ which has many meanings depending on who uses it but generally people either think of factor of 10 or factor of 2 improvement. I’d say a factor of 2 on price and a factor of 2 on charge speed and that’s a condensed version of the Toyota thing. I also think his statement in the ‘article’ here on Insideevs was taken a bit out of context similar in ways to how the Nissan CEO was occassionally cast shade on. Toyota is openly working on both of those improvements with solid state and are not giving up or saying it isn’t a thing. But within a wider conversation his point of mainstream acceptance is fairly objective. It cannot be taken that EVs are yet mainstream if they are 1% of the market and then only with subsidized purchases or coerced by regulation. What he is speaking of is a price point and recharge rate where the general public willingly accepts/purchases in mass market penetration and that… Read more »


“…‘order of magnitude’ which has many meanings depending on who uses it but generally people either think of factor of 10 or factor of 2 improvement.”

Nobody who knows what the term “order of magnitude” actually means would use it to mean merely doubling, or a factor of two. If they mean doubling, then they should say so.

In astronomy, where it refers to the absolute magnitude (observed brightness) of stars, an order of magnitude is a five-fold (5x) increase or decrease. Elsewhere, the term usually indicates a 10x increase or decrease.

The cost is dropping but at some point subsidies will go away. So in 5 years we are back to where we are now. We really need cheaper batteries to make electric cars viable large scale.

Hopefully if subsidies go a carbon tax will be implemented. That should balance things out.

Wishful thinking on carbon taxes. Even in the best case scenarios, those taxes tend to collapse because they are so easy to game. EVs have a narrow window of opportunity at the moment – a lifeline provided by subsidies. They better innovate and do it quick. EVs don’t need to reach price parity in order to sell, but the difference cannot be more than a couple of thousand dollars to attract mainstream customers.

You can game cap and trade, but tell us how you game a carbon tax?

For example, by lobbying CARB to grant more ZEV credits to fool cell cars than they do to BEVs, despite the fact that the well-to-wheel emissions for a fool cell cars is far, far worse than it is for a comparable (in size and motor power) BEV.

CARB grants ZEV credits to fool cell cars far out of proportion to what they deserve.

I agree, but that has little to do with a carbon tax.

Do you think that we’ll incentivise some technologies by giving them a break on their carbon fees?

There are numerous forcasts that show that battery costs are actually falling faster then the price of solar PV modules especially now that batteries are being used in massive quantities for stationary storage:

It appears that the parity point batteries v.s. ICE should be reached in the next 2-3 years and the costs will continue to decline making BEVs an economic no-brainer for virtually anyone who can do math.

It all depends on the cost of the electricity!!!!!!

Not if you are on solar panels. And even if not, the spread between the present low price of gas, which likely can’t go lower but can easily skyrocket, is such electricity is cheaper.

This is just marketing, it means nothing. How big is such a 20 module pack? How much does it weigh? What kind of motor goes with that? “Good for 435 miles” means nothing, that depends completely on the car it’s in. A very low performance, barebones car can get a huge range from even a small battery but no one would buy a car with only one seat and a top speed of 30 mph.

Glad to see that at least one person here is exercising critical thinking.

But this idea is nothing new. It’s been tried before, by BYD and others (for example, see link below). The idea looks good on paper, but doesn’t work well, because battery packs must be carefully balanced. If you swap modules in and out, that means each module has to have its own BMS, and multiple modules each with its own BMS means you need a hierarchy, some sort of master BMS to control the slave BMSs.

All that means greater cost and less efficiency.

Or, long story short: Nothing new here; move along, move along!


Is that 20 miles on the Euro hyper-optimistic standard? Or 20 miles on the EPA standard, which tends to be real-world accurate? Because that’s a MASSIVE difference in usability.

I assume they are talking European standard. The packaging on the 2170 cells is better than on the smaller 18650 cells, but the chemistry hasn’t changed. No breakthroughs yet. Still waiting on solid state.

Europe is using WLTP now..

Maybe JC08

No mention of TMS. I’m assuming bottom plate is good option for some modules.

Interesting how Samsung is jumping on the new Panasonic/Tesla standard of 2170 cylindrical cells.

“Its size is optimal for maximizing capacity, life and output simultaneously. The new battery beats batteries of any other size in light of cost competitiveness.”

We should see these 2170s fall rapidly in price as the Gigafactory cranks them out and other major manufacturers like Samsung get on board.

Funny, I think Samsung and LG announced 2170 in 2015 and Tesla jumped on that standard later.

All manufacturers have know that larger cells made for better pack density. There wasn’t a market for large format cylindrical cells in consumer electronics. They made sense for the new cordless power tools, and of course, it was Tesla using consumer sized cells successfully that really supersized the market.

Panasonic 20700, LG 21650

Thanks for the link. I guess Samsung did beat Panasonic to introduce the 21700. Though Panasonic/Tesla sure have grabbed the idea and run with it.

Certainly possible that these could be the cells that will be in Nissan’s 60kWh pack… If LG is booked to GM… then Nissan gets in with Samsung… Who they previously dealt with on the Swappable Renault Batteries in their sedan at Better Place? right? That could be a smart move. Especially if the price is tenable.

The Better Place packs used the same modules a the Leaf.

This is precisely why each automaker doesn’t need to have its own dedicated battery operation…

Agreed, except cells manufacturers arent good at modules and dont want to invest in them. If you buy from a supplier you’ll never be a market leader. Thats why most legacy OEMs do engine design in house.

Looks like samsung is heading the right direction. Make the prismatic cells shorter so you can fit into low profile cars and make cylindrical modules if you want a good EV.

“We will keep leading the battery industry with our unrivaled technology.”

Apparently, making a precise copy of Tesla’s 2170 form factor Gigafactory cell counts as “leading the battery industry” and “unrivaled technology”, according to Samsung.
😀 😀 😀

Time for Tesla’s wannabe competitors to sing another chorus of “Where you lead me, I will follow”…

Samsung made that model (21700) before Tesla..

Okay, but according to the link agzand provided, above, they promoted them for use in e-bikes. It’s only now, after Tesla started using them for its Model 3, that Samsung is advertising their use in passenger car PEVs.

Sure looks like following to me!