In a groundbreaking move toward revolutionizing the electric vehicle (EV) industry, Ionblox has unveiled an innovative solution—fast-charging lithium-silicon cells designed to reduce charging times and extend the range of EVs drastically. As the electrification of transportation remains a crucial aspect of carbon reduction efforts, Ionblox’s cutting-edge technology addresses the longstanding challenge of combining high energy storage with swift recharging capabilities in a single, long-lasting battery.
Ionblox’s lithium-silicon cells harness silicon’s exceptional energy-storage capacity to yield remarkable results. These cells are reported to facilitate the charging of 60% of a battery’s capacity in just five minutes and 80% in only 10 minutes. This technology not only accelerates charging but also extends the potential range of EVs by 30% to 50% using similarly sized Ionblox battery packs. Alternatively, it offers the opportunity to reduce both weight and cost with smaller battery packs, ushering in the possibility of charging EVs as swiftly as refilling a gasoline tank, thus overcoming a significant adoption barrier.
Dr Herman Lopez, Chief Technology Officer at Ionblox, highlighted the breakthrough: “We have developed high-performance cells that are not only compact and lightweight but also robust enough for continuous operation at extremely fast charges of 5 minutes, effectively closing the performance gap between electric vehicles and their combustion engine counterparts.”
Ionblox’s extraordinary achievements are the result of a novel battery chemistry configuration. The company replaced the anode’s graphite with high-capacity silicon monoxide and infused anodes with a patented range of supplemental lithium to enhance performance. Furthermore, a nano-engineered solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) layer and a new cell architecture significantly boost conductivity while ensuring a high cycle life with minimal capacity loss, even during extremely fast charging.
Ionblox maintains that its lithium-silicon cells not only charge more efficiently but also sustain peak performance throughout the vehicle’s lifetime. Rigorous testing, including over 1,000 extremely fast charge cycles of large-format pouch cells with a 32-Ah capacity, demonstrated minimal battery degradation.
The company’s proprietary pre-lithiated silicon-monoxide anode, combined with a unique cell architecture, enables these remarkable achievements. This approach is adaptable for use in existing cell manufacturing facilities.
Ionblox’s remarkable progress was recognized in 2022 when the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) awarded the company a contract to develop low-cost and fast-charging silicon-based cells for electric vehicles. Additionally, a strategic investment from Lilium, a prominent electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft company, expanded the scope of Ionblox’s fast-charging cell technology to include eVTOLs, allowing them to extend their time in the sky.
When integrated into EV battery packs, Ionblox’s technology results in a 30% range increase, with an average 300-mile range EV extending to 390 miles. The ability to charge up to 60% in just five minutes translates to 225 miles of range. This combination of fast-charging cells and extended range significantly narrows the performance gap between electric and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, paving the way for mass EV adoption.
Ionblox is actively producing large-format pouch cells for automotive and aviation clients, using readily scalable materials and equipment. Collaborating with ecosystem partners, the company strives to bring its innovative cells into higher-volume production.