Nikola Corporation said that it has developed a new battery that has a record energy density of 1,100 Wh kg-1 on the material level and 500 Wh kg-1 on the production cell level—including casing, terminals and separator—more than double current lithium-ion battery cells. The Nikola prototype cell eliminates binder material and current collectors, enabling more energy storage within the cell. It is also expected to pass nail penetration standards, thus reducing potential vehicle fires.
Nikola said that this free-standing electrode automotive battery will deliver a 40% reduction in weight compared to lithium-ion cells and a 50% material cost reduction per kWh compared to lithium-ion batteries. Cycling the cells more than 2,000 times has shown what Nikola called “acceptable” end-of-life performance.
Projected benefits of the technology applied to Nikola’s trucks are:
Nikola’s battery electric trucks could drive 800 miles fully loaded between charges.
Nikola trucks could weigh 5,000 lbs. less than the competition if same battery size was kept.
Nikola’s hydrogen-electric fuel cell trucks could surpass 1,000 miles between stops and top off in 15 minutes.
Nikola will share the intellectual property (IP) with other OEMs, even competitors, that contribute to the Nikola IP license and a new consortium.
We are not talking about small improvements; we are talking about doubling your cell phone battery capacity. We are talking about doubling the range of BEVs and hydrogen-electric vehicles around the world. Nikola is in discussions with customers for truck orders that could fill production slots for more than ten years and propel Nikola to become the top truck manufacturer in the world in terms of revenue. Now the question is why not share it with the world?—Trevor Milton, CEO, Nikola Motor Company
Nikola said it will show the batteries charging and discharging in front of the crowd at Nikola World. The date of Nikola World will be announced soon but is expected to be fall of 2020.
Nikola said that its new cell technology is environmentally friendly and easy to recycle. While conventional lithium-ion cells contain elements that are toxic and expensive, the new technology will have a positive impact on the earth’s resources, landfills and recycling plants, the company said.
This month, Nikola entered into a letter of intent to acquire a world-class battery engineering team to help bring the new battery to pre-production. Through this acquisition, Nikola will add 15 PhDs and five master’s degree team members.
Due to confidentiality and security reasons, additional details of the acquisition will not be disclosed until Nikola World 2020.
Nikola’s Motor Company’s commercial truck product portfolio includes the Nikola Two, Nikola Tre and Nikola One.