Developments and Upcoming Trends in the Battery Segment

Every now and then Bicle invites a mobility industry expert to write a column. This time it is Liu Yang's turn. He is Director of Overseas Business LEV & Multi-Applications Business Group at Phylion. In this column he gives insights in the trends and developments in the battery segment. 

With the increasing shortage of energy in the world, people pay more and more attention to the energy conservation of solar energy, and more environmental protection equipment are developed with the global advocacy of energy saving and environmental protection. The development of lithium battery industry is very rapid. The application of the field is more and more extensive, it can be said that our scientific and technological life has been inseparable from lithium batteries.

In the battery market, the traditional lead-acid battery has been gradually replaced by the new performance lithium ion battery. The energy of the same mass of lithium ion battery is 4-6 times that of the lead-acid battery. Of course, as power battery, lithium-ion batteries have a leading position in Light Electrical Vehicle (LEV), especially Electric Vehicle (EV) applications. This article introduces the development and market trend of Li-ion power batteries for LEV and EV.

LEV

For light vehicles, the core materials, BMS and PACK design are three crucial factors that determine the quality of lithium-ion power battery.

Cell Material

The cathode material is the decisive factor of the electric performance of power battery. At present, there are three main materials which been commonly used: LMO, LFP and NCM. Taking NCM as cathode material has many potential problems, such as high safety hazard and poor power performance.

Taking LFP as cathode material has the problem of poor performance under low temperature and low specific energy.

The lithium ion battery with LMO as cathode material has the advantages of high safety, long cycle life, secondary life and high cost performance. So it shows that the LMO is the most suitable material system for LEV.

BMS

Good BMS design ensures the safe use of lithium electricity. Over-discharge protection, over-current protection, temperature control, chargers identification, abnormal alarm lock machine etc. determine the quality of BMS.

Pack Design

Fair PACK structure design is also an indispensable part. In the design of PACK, the core capacity is large and the number of equal capacity series and parallel are at least more stable and safe. The factors of waterproof, battery vibration and drop should be taken into account when considering the overall heat dissipation of the core.

International market level

Concerning the international market level, since the LEV represented by E-BIKE is mainly used as a means of transportation, the current market is still dominated by high-power battery pack design, in order to achieve a stronger power output and biggest continue voyage course. However, there is also some small power battery pack designs occurred in the market. The design idea is mainly based on some portable vehicles, or because of the considerations of the vehicle appearance.

EV

For electric vehicle, the development and design of battery is more complicated because of its higher power and safety requirements. In addition to selecting suitable materials, the battery unit has to go through the development and design of complex modules, thermal management, electrical systems, BMS, battery packs, and other related tests such as electrical performance, safety, weather resistance and durability, in order to meet the requirements of the automotive class application.

In terms of market demand for automotive power batteries, by 2030, passenger cars will have battery energy of 70-80KWh and annual battery demand of 2.1TWh, with China accounting for 1/3; Europe and the United States together accounting for 28%, and Japan accounts for 3%. Therefore, battery manufacturers need to strengthen energy planning and construction. And there will be more large battery manufacturers with 50GWh capacity. (Above data is from China Automotive Technology and Research Center).