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NCM Li-ion battery pack developed by Axeon-led consortium offers 35% improvement in range for same weight as LFP

Overview of the project from a 2010 Axeon presentation. Click to enlarge.

A project led by advanced battery manufacturer Axeon, involving partners Ricardo and Allied Vehicles, and co-funded by the UK Technology Strategy Board has developed a new higher energy-density Li-ion battery pack for use in electric cars that offers a more than a 35% improvement in range compared to a Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) chemistry for the same weight.

The battery uses Nickel Cobalt Manganese (NCM) electrochemistry [Li(NiCoMn)O2], which theoretically requires 50% less volume and 30% less mass when compared to Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) chemistry (at the cell level). Axeon, which is Europe’s largest independent Lithium-ion battery systems supplier and works with a variety of Li-ion chemistries, notes that NCM Li-ion batteries are a compromise of electrochemical performance, combined with lower cost.

Electrochemically, the performance is superior to Lithium iron phosphate [LiFePO4] and Lithium cobalt oxide [LiCoO2] in terms of capacity and therefore energy density. In terms of rate capability and therefore power density the electrochemical performance is better than LiCoO2 but not as high as LiFePO4, Axeon says.

The assembled prototype battery pack
The assembled prototype battery pack. Click to enlarge.

In 2009, the Technology Strategy Board awarded more than £680,000 (US$1 million) of funding to the consortium led by Axeon—bringing the total project funding to more than £1.3 million (US$2 million)—with the aim of developing an innovative high energy density battery system for an electric vehicle.

A key goal of the project was to confirm that these cell level benefits pass through to the battery pack level when taking into account overall packaging, cell retention, cooling and interconnects, Battery Management System (BMS) components and overall system functionality.

The project included subjecting the battery to automotive environmental validation testing and the learning from this has been incorporated into the final design.

One of the prototype cell modules
Pack module. Click to enlarge.

Axeon and partners Ricardo and Allied Vehicles have now delivered an advanced demonstrator that has been deployed into a test vehicle, increasing its range, functionality and performance. The project has confirmed that it is feasible to replace Lithium Iron Phosphate technology with NCM and that the majority of cell level benefits migrate to battery pack level, the partners said.

The demonstrator pack uses NCM pouch cells that have been packaged in modular building blocks which additionally support a range of thermal management options and additionally allow Axeon to support rapid prototyping into a range of other vehicle types with significantly reduced development lead times.

Added benefits of the new system, which was tested on a vehicle platform from Allied Vehicles, include increased ground clearance, better driver experience due to improved weight distribution and more power, resulting in better drivability.

The new battery also integrates an automotive BMS developed by Ricardo. This works with multiple cell chemistries, has active balancing and delivers diagnostic and prognostic information to the vehicle control system.

The partners are now in active discussions on commercialization of the new technologies.



This is another good news for future electrified vehicles. If this battery can be mass produced at the same or even lower price than the current 100 to 150 Wh/Kg units, the Leaf, Volts, Miele and similar electrified vehicles would become more interesting but it is still not enough for highway capable BEVs. Something like 200% to 300% improvement is required.


As far as I'm concerned, this announcement is COMPLETE BULLSH|T. Notice they never said what it's Wh/kg is, only that it's "35% better...".

Better than what? Some early prototype LiPhosphate battery that was at 70Wh/kg? Better than some low end 100Wh/kg battery?

And they didn't mention an thing about the power density What about PRICE??? You know guys, that price thing? Is it $1,500/kg or $300/kg???

I'm so tired of these people getting press for doing nothing. If they did something worth talking about, then they'd put in those numbers.

This is another press release by the marketing guys trying to justify the money they got and get more.

Not interested.


I totally agree with DaveD. And i have to ask the question "When is Green Car Congress going to start requiring more specific numbers in the press releases they publish?" I think GCC does a good job, but they certainly could change history by requiring more specific numbers. GCC, what do you think?


@DaveD Look at the diagram. It clearly says 170 Wh/kg.

Also for a 30 kWh battery, the weight is reduced by 28% and volume by 47%. Volume is oly half a LiFePO4.

They "delivered an advanced demonstrator that has been deployed into a test vehicle, increasing its range, functionality and performance."

They are in the commercialization phase "The partners are now in active discussions on commercialization of the new technologies."

Doesn't look like bullshit to me. GGC can't require them to say anything.


It still seems to me that Axeon could have used specific numbers - like telling us the size and weight and price of the 30kWh battery module. It also still seems to me that GCC can use its power and influence to gently move these press releases into a more factual world.


I missed the 170Wh/kg in the initial diagram. But they're still not telling us any power or pricing numbers, just "therefore power density the electrochemical performance is better than LiCoO2 but not as high as LiFePO4, Axeon says." Just tell us the damn number already. That's a really big range with the A123 providing up to 20kW/kg in burst for F1 KERS systems.

That 170Wh/kg at a cell level is nothing to write home about either. Panasonic has already announced cells at over 250Wh/kg and Tesla is using them for the Model S.

And no mention of price, again just "combined with lower cost". Lower cost than what?

I love to see progress, but this is another BS marketing release to me.


Cool it off a bit, Dave.

This battery is intended for street vehicles, not formula 1 racing.

It is indeed marketing, so what? All new discoveries and technology advances are communicated before they are completely worked out and ready for mass production. So it is not more than logical that they can give very little information about pricing. The power density is less interesting for a BEV. More for (P)HEV's. But tested it in a BEV, where the energy density is most important.


I'm with DaveD..

170wh/kg is a disappointing low number for NMC, supposedly this will be the new chemistry used by the 2015 Nissan Leaf.

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I am Jose M. Maese from Spain. (sorry for my english).

And ok we are in 1 may 2012 now. And my opinion is..
We have these batteries technology in the enertia plus motorbyke:

If you read diferences between enertia and new enertia plus, you can see clearly the autonomy is double in almost exactly same weight. From 42 miles to 80 miles. and from 2.000 cycles - 42 miles to 1500 cycles - 80 miles. So also you can make more lifetime batteries until degrading. 84.000 miles to 120.000 miles.

What i am meaning is.. Yes we have a good improvement and this is real. Enertia plus is yet in the market from some months ago with double autonomy in same weight than the before enertia non-plus with normal Lithium Iron Phosphate.

I am even impressed because i was reading enertia specs thinking they was using new technology batteries from Leyden energy and his litium-amide batteries:

My surprise was seeing was not li-amide but Lithium-Ion NCM from axeon (this i suppouse is from axeon coz i dont know another doing that actually).
And for me this is also good news. We have actually more than one way runing in the market. Just we need the trademarks bet for this new products as Brammmo did with his enertia.

And about the price.. I dont know the original diference. It seems leyden say with amide would not be more expensive than normal. But axeon and manganeso i dont know.. What i see in the motorbike is, enertia cost 8.000 $ and Enertia plus cost 11.000 $..
But maybe is not all about original overprice in the battery, but overprice they put because offering double autonomy.. Who knows.. Anycase this is coz a very young market without massive production and good competence for slow down prices.

And still we are waiting for grapheno promises. For example Leyden put some Grapheno inside li-amide batteries if i didnt read bad.
Maybe somebody by here have some other news about Grapheno in batteries. Because manganeso was more for 2015 and see.. 2012 and in the market.. Maybe with Amide is the same. ¿Somebody know some product using amide batteries actually in the market or soon?

When we will have about 300 miles and cheaper batteries? I think this two new technologies runing are good beginings. And with Grapheno and other things in a lot of laboratories.

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