Most of today’s electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries—the same kind of batteries used in cell phones and laptop computers. Currently, most Li-Ion batteries account for nearly 65% of the total cost of EVs. To compete in the market with gasoline-based vehicles, EVs must cost less and drive farther. An EV that is cost-competitive with gasoline would require a battery with twice the energy storage of today’s state-of-the-art Li-Ion battery at 30% of the cost.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Sila Nanotechnologies is developing a high-throughput technology for scalable synthesis of high-capacity nanostructured materials for Li-Ion EV batteries. The successful implementation of this technology will allow improvements in energy storage capacity of today’s best batteries at half the cost. In contrast to other high-capacity material synthesis technologies, Sila's materials show minimal volume changes during the battery operation, which is a key challenge of next-generation battery anode materials. In addition, Sila’s technology may allow for the dramatic enhancements of the batteries’ cycle life, structural stability, safety, and charging rate. The low-cost, drop-in compatibility with existing cell manufacturing technologies, and environmental friendliness of both the material synthesis and electrode fabrication will assist in the rapid adoption of Sila’s technology. Coupling increased battery capacity with substantial cost reduction could alleviate the driving range anxiety and price problems associated with today’s EVs. Increasing the capacity of battery electrodes is critical to lowering the cost of Li-Ion batteries and making EVs cost-competitive with gasoline-based vehicles.
If successful, Sila’s project would reduce the cost of Li-ion energy storage and simultaneously increase energy density.
Increased use of EVs would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil—the transportation sector is the dominant source of this dependence.
Greater use of EVs would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.
This battery would enable an EV to travel from Chicago to St. Louis (300 miles) on a single charge, for less than $10 on average.