Next-Battery, a start-up developing high energy-density Li-ion battery technology, has secured a strategic relationship with Lvchi Automobile Technology (Shanghai) Co Ltd. LVCHI AUTO group is a whole value chain operation platform company that focuses on new electric vehicles (EV), with targeted annual production of more than 500,000 vehicles.
The global design, research and development base of Lvchi is located at the Turin engineering center in Italy. Lvchi also has technology centers in Coventry, England and Silicon Valley. Engineering application development is carried out by Lvchi’s Shanghai engineering research institute in collaboration with Wuxi Research branch and Beijing Future Institute.
Lvchi reviewed the Next-Battery technology and its research and development program, and was satisfied that Next-Battery’s lithium-ion technology could play a significant part in the future development plans of Lvchi as Next-Battery moves towards completing its first advanced prototype battery.
The technology uses lithium-ion chemistries with novel nano-structuring effectively to “upgrade” a battery electrode’s functional properties. The proprietary process significantly increases the surface area of the metal oxides in the cathode which allows dimension reduction and doping to increase functionalization and morphology control.
This enables cathodes that are ultra-porous, and lithium infused within a nanostructured surface to enable faster lithium ion transport and electron movement in a more energy-dense structure.
The diagram shows how the unique nano-structure allows more lithium ions (Li+) to be packed into the electrodes. Source: Next-Battery.
Laboratory studies on the cathode by Next-Battery’s scientists show the technology can more than double the specific energy of the best commercial lithium-ion batteries today, such as the new Tesla/Panasonic 2170 cell used in the Tesla Model 3 battery pack. Recharge time should also improve based upon tests to date.
Next-Battery is well advanced in demonstrating a state-of-the-art prototype battery that will aim to show a minimum 50% increase in specific energy from the best commercial lithium-ion batteries on the market today.
Both Next-Battery and Lvchi will proceed with key visits in Ukraine and China during Q1 2019 with a view to formalizing a commercial collaboration venture in China designed to fast track the commercial roll-out and development of Next-Battery.
Next-Battery’s Ukraine operations continue steady progress on cathode and anode prototype production and have not been affected by the recent geopolitical problems with Russia over access to the Azov sea since those events are localized to areas in which Next-Battery has no operations.
Next-Battery was founded in 2018 based on more than 10 years of electrode R&D and is led by Benton Wilcoxon, who is experienced in the commercialization of advanced materials technology as well as supercapacitor and battery technologies. He has spent years creating new companies that develop and commercialize novel products using advanced materials science teams in Ukraine, the US and Europe.
Currently he is the CEO of NextMetals Ltd, which is commercializing high-strength nano-structured titanium, super steels, and ceramics for high-performance applications in aerospace, defence and vehicle applications, all of which can be 3D printed.